Whenever one mentions Juvenile, it is assured they mention New Orleans and Cash Money in the same breath. The Magnolia representative flew above the radar when he captured the rap world with hits “Ha” and “Back That Azz Up,” off his third and first major release 400 Degrees. After a slew of successful albums under Cash Money Records, Juvenile decided to split from the label amid in fighting and disputes.
Returning to Cash Money in 2003, Juvenile came back with Juve The Great and the number one song “Slow Motion.” Three years later, Juvenile made the move to Atlantic Records releasing his first number one billboard album, Reality Check, in 2006. Building upon that success, the former Cash Money Records flagship artist returns focused with Cocky and Confident. In the world of Hip-Hop it can be very difficult for an artist to stay away for three years and come back like he never left, but Juvenile is up to the challenge.
Propped up by champion production, Juve’s ninth solo LP will be a treat for those anticipating Juvenile’s return. Yet, due to overplayed sung hooks, and an over abundance of features, Cocky and Confident sounds like a monotone effort overall.
Impressively leading off the album with marching band laced title track, Juve wastes no time addressing those who doubt him when he raps, “Fans like ‘Is he really gonna drop that/ 400 degress you never gonna top that/ he ain’t the same, but he still go flow/ guess I got to flow just a lil’ bit mo’.”
Juve also comes true to form with his bounce heavy track, “Top Of The Line” and “We Be Getting Money,” with the latter finding entertaining guest spots from Shawty Lo, Dorrough and Kango Slim.
One of the best moments on the album is “Listen,” which ends off the LP. On the heart heavy track Juvenile breaks away from the big money talk and gives advice on the song dedicated to his son with the line, “Make sure yourself surrounded around the right people/take advantage of all the little things that life teach you.”
However, things go awry when Juvenile leans heavy on R&B flavored hooks and misplaced features. When coming across tracks like “Everything,” “New Orleans Stunna” and “You Can’t Stop Me,” listeners would be getting the same light sung hooks that makes the album sound mundane and a far cry from the gritty and bouncy sound that is expected from Juvenile. The number of features from unknown artist on a handful of songs like “It’s All Hood” and “My Money Don’t Fold,” prevents Juvenile’s voice and flavor from dominating the albums soundscape, further bringing down the albums enjoyment.
Although it is always great when an important artist like Juvenile returns, Cocky and Confident sounds like Juvenile was going through the motions when creating this album. The balance between giving fans the old Juvenile and adjusting to the latest musical scene is the dilemma Juve needs to get over in order to get back to that Hot Boy we all bounced to.
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