"You got to reinvent yourself".
Juvenile – honest from the start
Confrontational lyrics based in the reality of the street life of New Orleans have been the signature of the dirty south rapper known as Juvenile since 1994. During his fifteen years of rapping Juvenile has reinvented himself several times. Rapping about street life, success and tragedy as they occur in his life keeps the content real and compelling for his audiences.
Terius Gray was born on March 26, 1975 in New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up in the historic city. Taking on the stage name, Juvenile, he began his music career as a member of the Cash Money Records hip hop group Hot Boys in 1994. February 1995 marked the release of Being Myself on the Warlock label for the twenty year old rapper. This first effort is credited with being a classic example of the Louisiana regions form of dance music that continues to have a strong following today. The call outs and chants over the beat characterize the popular southern party style music referred to as “bounce”.
Juvenile - New Orleans beginnings
Two years later Juvenile was signed with Cash Money Records and released the second of his eleven albums, Solja Rags. Although the album was an underground hit and ranked 55 on the R&B Albums charts in 1997 it was his third album, 400 Degreez, that truly launched Juvenile’s mainstream rapping career. Ranking #2 on the R&B Albums and #9 on the Billboard 200 critics have claimed that singles Ha and Back That Azz Up are the best tracks from the Dirty South boom during the last part of the 1990’s.
Cash Money and Warlock Records both capitalized on Juvenile’s mushrooming popularity by re-issuing Solja Rags and a remix of Being Myself in 1999. That same year Tha G-Code was released as his fourth studio album. Two years passed before Project English came out to rank #2 on both R&B and the Billboard 200 charts in 2001. In 2001 Juvenile was involved in a fight near a Miami, Florida nightclub that didn’t get settled in court until February of 2003. During the summer of 2002 he was arrested on assault charges then arrested again in January of 2003 on drug charges. The effects of anger, drugs and alcohol were being seen in the artists lack luster studio work.
Unhappy with the money distribution Juvenile broke with Cash Money Records in 2002. Juve formed his own posse which he dubbed the Uptown Project Playas (UTP Playas) and released The Compilation. It bombed and Juvenile returned to Cash Money within a year and went to work on Juve the Great. Late in 2003 this interesting mix of collaborations with members of the UTP crew Wacko and Skip which are produced by Griz and Slice Tee as well as the Cash Money rappers Baby and Mannie Fresh. Standout tracks for this album were Bounce Back and Slow Motion, with Slow Motion becoming Juvenile’s first #1 hit.
With UTP Playas Juve created Nolia Clap and was poised to sign with major label Atlantic Records in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans. He turned his attention to fund raising and worked with other New Orleans hip hop talent to raise money for supplies and services for his devastated hometown.
The next music milestone came in 2006 with Reality Check becoming his first number one album on Billboard 200. Get Ya Hustle On, Addicted and Say It to Me Now are filled with the wry, riveting and rigorously honest lyrics Juvenile is known for.
An even more personal tragedy than the damage done by the 2006 hurricane season came for Juvenile on February 29, 2008 when his four year old daughter, Jelani, was killed in a shooting.
Starting in September of 2009 Juvenile started releasing singles from his latest studio album Cocky & Confident through iTunes. The album was released December 1, 2009 and ranked in the low numbers in the Top Rap and R&B Albums immediately indicating he is back.
Back in 2009
Did you know that...
- ...Juvenile starred as Tanut in Baller Blockin’ in 2000
- ...Juvenile appeared in 6 films from 2000 to 2005
- ...Juvenile did not attend his daughters funeral