Terius Gray may be known as Juvenile to his fans, but this New Orleans native is anything but that when it comes to the music industry. Juve entered the game at just 15 in 1989. After years of living on the bubble of the industry, he signed with Cash Money in 1996. By 1999, Juve was the proud papa of a 4.7 million unit selling album. It was at that point that the rapper decided to sever ties with the burgeoning Cash Money label and step out on his own.
Since leaving Cash Money, Juve has released three more albums Ė Tha G Code, Project English, and Juve The Great Ė before closing the biggest deal of his career. Atlantic Records, now home to Juvenile and his UTP label, snatched up Juve last year when two of his biggest hits, ďNolia ClapĒ and ďSlow MotionĒ ruled the airwaves. Now on his seventh solo album and Atlantic debut, Reality Check promises to be just that. Featuring tracks like ďGet Ya Hustle OnĒ which reminds listeners of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Juve promises to be the voice of the people.
Chronicmagazine.com: Your album Reality Check is dropping March 7. Do you still get nervous about the reception your albums receive?
Juvenile: Yeah. For this one, I am. I really didnít care about the last one. This is the first time that Iím releasing my own album so itís a little different. Iím the boss.
Chronicmagazine.com: So you didnít have complete creative control on your last album?
Juvenile: I wasnít solely in charge. I wasnít the sole executive producer.
Chronicmagazine.com: What will people hear on this album?
Juvenile: People will hear all types of topics. I have a song featuring Brian McKnight. The song is called ďAddicted.Ē Itís about a woman whoís just addicted (laughs). Itís over a live band. Iíve got a song on the album about breaking bricks down. Iím just showing fans how far I can go. Iíve even got a song on my album thatís the cousin to ďBack that Azz Up.Ē Iím doing me on this album.
Chronicmagazine.com: You worked with a lot of different people on this album Ė Scott Storch, Lil Jon, Mannie Fresh, R. Kelly. When you work with so many different people, do you take on a little of their sound?
Juvenile: Never and thatís whatís so cool about it. Thereís one song with Paul Wall and Mike Jones that you can hear a little of their sound, but thatís the only one. Everyone else I worked with [came] into my world.
Chronicmagazine.com: How was your trip to New Orleans? I know you went there recently to film your video for ďGet Your Hustle On.Ē
Juvenile: I just went there to do a concert. It was packed. Itís still a lot of love down there. There are a lot of people there. A lot of people are on their way back even as we speak. Theyíre just not getting the opportunity to get the jobs. Thatís whatís making it ugly.
Chronicmagazine.com: I know you lived a little outside of New Orleans, but your house was still destroyed. Have you relocated?
Juvenile: New Orleans is small. I stay about 5 minutes from there. I was in New Orleans everyday. I stayed in a good little area on the water. It sits in the gulf of Mexico.
Chronicmagazine.com: Do you plan to rebuild?
Juvenile: Yeah. Definitely. Iíve got the insurance straightened out and Iím already rebuilding my house. Everything for me is going to be back to normal, but I canít see the city being back to normal period.
Chronicmagazine.com: How are things going with UTP?
Juvenile: Skip and Wacko are back in the studio working on something new. The D-Boyz Ė Lac and Stone Ė who used to be with Cash Money have an album coming out. The name of the album is called Gettiní Money. The first single is called ďWipe ĎEm OffĒ produced by Mannie Fresh. I have another group called Partners-N-Crime. Theyíre some old school cats. Theyíve been making records for years in New Orleans. Their album is called Club Bangaz. Their first single is called ďBubble BubbleĒ featuring me and Skip. Weíve got some things up our sleeve.
Chronicmagazine.com: Did you executive produce their albums too?
Juvenile: Oh yeah. Definitely. The D-Boyz executive produced their album with me.
Chronicmagazine.com: Is it hard to manage your project and the other acts as well?
Juvenile: Iíve got staff so Iím not really doing everything. I canít even take the credit. Weíve [work with] Ready or Not Management and they cover a lot of ground when it comes to the artists. Rap-A-Lot is involved with Partners-N-Crime. All of my artists outside of me are signed to Asylum so itís still in-house. Itís still in the same building. Theyíre part of the Warner-Atlantic family. That makes it easy for me.
Chronicmagazine.com: Are you doing anything outside of music?
Juvenile: Iím working on this clothing line called Stacks and Bundles. It has a ghetto name, but itís not a ghetto project. Itís going to be real classy, real nice.
Chronicmagazine.com: So will it include button-downs?
Juvenile: Iím not coming out like that. (laughs) Iím doing something different, but I donít want to let that out yet. Itís going to be classy though.
Chronicmagazine.com: After 10 years of rapping, what keeps you going?
Juvenile: Just the fact that I still have a fan base. Iím doing it and Iím still good. If I wasnít good, I swear I would retire. If I felt like my family was getting to the point where I just needed to stay home, I would retire. Right now, itís just good for me.
Chronicmagazine.com: Whatís the most important lesson youíve learned so far?
Juvenile: As far as the music industry goes, just learn the business. As far as life goes, Iíve learned itís not all about me. Put God first. Thatís where Iím at with everything.
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