In the late nineties, Birdman and his Cash Money Millionaires were in the process of taking control of the rap game. At the forefront of the movement was Juvenile, who came through to make a resounding statement with his debut album 400 Degreez. Released twenty-two years ago to this day (one year earlier than Lil Wayne’s 1999 debut The Block Is Hot), Juvie’s Mannie Fresh-produced classic is widely praised on the strength of “Back Dat Azz Up” and “Ha.” Yet throughout the eighteen-track project are plenty of highlights to behold, with the title track shining particularly bright.
In contrast to the bulk of the album’s production, “400 Degreez” feels oddly sinister with its off-kilter robotic chant. For whatever reason, it incited something deadly in Juvenile, who opted to assert his dominance from the opening bars onward. “You see me I eat sleep shit and talk rap,” he declares. “You see that 98 Mercedes on TV? I bought that / I had some felony charges I fought that / been sent to no return but still was brought back.” And in a refreshing turn, Juvenile retains that same energy throughout the three-verse banger, imbuing “400 Degreez” with the intensity a title track merits.
On this milestone occasion, be sure to revisit one of the hardest albums stemming from Magnolia, period. Anyone browsing HNHH have love for Juvie’s 400 Degreez?
What’s up, that’ll stop a n**ga from playin’
Something like a chopper or a grenade in his hand
Boy look n*ga don’t play no games no mo
N**ga’ll bust ya head if you bang his ho
Attitude adjustments we all need
Don’t call the law enforcements n**ga call me