As the South remains the dominant region in Hip-Hop, Juvenile’s early contributions to the movement cannot be denied. As an original member of the Cash Money Records roster, Juvenile soared to fame with national hits like “Back That Azz Up” and “Ha.” But as we know, everything that glitters is not always gold.
After parting ways with his recording home following a financial discrepancy, Juvenile was still able to show and prove minus the Cash Money association. He connected with fellow Magnolia representatives Wacko and Skip to take a regional “Nolia Clap” to national headlines. Since then subsequent releases have yet to match his earlier production.
With Drake recently showing homage, a new, just released Mardi Gras mixtape and an album aptly titled Rejuvenation in the works¸ Juvenile seems poised to show the public he can still hang with the best of them. In an exclusive interview with Hip-Hop Wired, Juvenile discusses what he has been up to, settling all beefs, working with Jay-Z, and how his legacy should defined.
HipHopWired.com: Tell us about about your new Mardi Gras mixtape.
Juvenile: It’s all about timing for me you know. For me I just think the time is so perfect that it’s Mardi Gras and for me to have a mixtape out there. The whole Mardi Gras mixtape is to promote my new album Rejuvenation that I’m releasing in April 3rd. I got a lot of Wacko and Skip on this because we about to put out a record of our own later this year – so it’s a lot of that. I’ve been away for a minute so I’m trying to get as much of me in as possible.
HipHopWired.com: Where do you think Rejuvenation will stand against your earlier catalog of albums? Your last couple of efforts missed the mark.
Juvenile: I just want everyone to know this is a stepping stone of what’s to come for me because I’ve been away for a minute. I’m letting people know where I’m at in life. What I’m seeing, how I’m living all of that. I got Rick Ross on there, Mannie Fresh, Drake and Skip and Wacko of course.
HipHopWired.com: In 2007 Wacko and Skip of UPT started slandering your name because you had left the group. How was that situation smoothed out?
Juvenile: It was really nothing. We just had to sit at the table and look at it from a business standpoint. We don’t have to be friends or best friends where we hang together and stuff like that to do business. Different races do business with each other without having to like each other. I’m just trying to make some money so it’s all business with me and with them too. As you see ever since that [last] project nothing has really happened. So you have to go back to your roots and see where you can get out of it.
HipHopWired.com: What was the original problem?
Juvenile: It really wasn’t anything; I just wanted to do my own thing. It was probably taken the wrong way but I just wanted to do my own thing. That’s all that was.
HipHopWired.com: Last year Drake remade “Back That Azz Up” with his song “Practice.” Do you think Drake’s R&B styled remake takes away from your original’s history?
Juvenile:It’s more about what you feel. I think his version was more of a club version, more of an R&B version and I liked it. For what he was trying to do I thought the song was good. What I was trying to do was just make a song for New Orleans; it’s a different show you know? I think at the time where his career is at anything would work for him.
HipHopWired.com: Considering your financial troubles with Cash Money in the past was everything squared away with you getting compensated with Drake using the song?
Juvenile: Yeah we’re cool. I’m cool with Cash Money [Records], it ain’t like that. There is no friction or beef there; I don’t live my life like that. We settled our business years ago. Up until there was that friction, it was like that. It was a beef, I can’t deny that. Once we got that business straight everything was good with Juvie. I’ve actually been down there a couple times [to visit].
HipHopWired.com: Do you think Young Money Cash Money moving their operations to Miami sends a wrong message to the people of New Orleans consideration what that city has been through?
Juvenile: You got to live in New Orleans to understand that part [laughing]. In my opinion it was a good move man because you have to have your family safe and not to criticize my city but it’s rough down here man. If you’re not grounded and you’re not around in the hood everyday and have a tight relationship with everyone it’s pretty hard for you to pop up – they’re not having that. It’s rough.
HipHopWired.com: During the height of the Cash Money Records popularity, the New York market received you so well. I had always heard Baby had to fly Jay-Z $100,000 dollars for him to do the remix of “Ha.”.
Juvenile: Nah. Jay-Z did that. I had nothing to do with that. That was a Jay-Z move. I’m glad he did it because we’ve been cool ever since. But that was a Jay-Z move – he called us. We didn’t pay him a nickel. He did that verse because the song was going to bubble. It was a good look for him in the South. You go to understand Jay-Z was popping but he wasn’t popping in the South like that during that era. We weren’t necessarily buying his records like that like everybody else in the country. That gave him a strong push because at the time we were the jewels of the South.
Even that track I did with Jay-Z (“Snoopy Track”) we did that in the studio together. I was drunk as Shyte though. Jigga had bought all type of drinks. It was an overflow of Cristal [Champagne]. I was out of it.
HipHopWired.com: What are the possibilities of that Hot Boy$ reunion coming together?
Juvenile: I don’t think it’s possible. It don’t work without all the members. Both Turk and B.G. in jail so it doesn’t work so I don’t think it’s possible. I haven’t spoken to B.G. but I spoke to Turk like in September of last year. I’ve spoken to B.G.’s aunt, but I haven’t spoken to him yet.
HipHopWired.com: Do you regret not attending your daughter’s funeral in 2008?
Juvenile: That’s a rough situation. Me and the family weren’t eye to eye during that time and I didn’t want to make it a more compounding situation being where the funeral was at. My mother, my family and I thought it was best to stay away.
HipHopWired.com: How would you define your legacy?
Juvenile: I think for sure every time someone mentions “Back That Azz Up” in their song or bring it up in some type of way. That’s my DNA; when you hear my name that’s the first thing that pops up. That’s with any genre young, old or whatever.
HipHopWired.com: In terms of the current face of Hip-Hop, who has impacted you?
Juvenile: I like J.Cole because of the skill set. I think Wiz Khalifa is going to last a little bit. Of course the whole Young Money, I like everything over there. But I think the one that will have the most longevity is Drake.
HipHopWired.com: What do you think separates Juvenile from the talent that is out right now?
Juvenile: A lot of cats don’t know their fan base. I know my fan base and I can really rap. I’m really not a gimmick and that works for me. You have a lot of cats out here now that can’t really do this here.