Juvenile’s name may not be as ubiquitous as that of his Cash Money peer Lil Wayne, but that doesn’t mean that the rapper’s impact on South Coast hip-hop is any less critical. Born Terius Gray in the notorious Magnolia Projects of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1975, Juvenile began his career as a teenage prodigy peddling bounce music, highlighted by propulsive basslines and electro synths. Juvenile parlayed that early success into a deal with Cash Money Records, which, by the mid-’90s, was a major force in Southern rap music. In 1997, Juvenile released his first album for the label, Solja Rags, though the year would become more significant for the artist as he joined the Hot Boys, alongside B.G., Turk, and Lil Wayne. Juvenile continued that momentum into 1998, when he released 400 Degreez, a bona fide national hit, thanks to singles like “Ha” and “Back That Azz Up" (which features Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh). By blending gritty street raps with catchy hooks, 400 Degreez became one of the most influential rap albums of the ‘90s, setting the stage for future stars of the Dirty South like T.I. and Boosie Badazz. Though 400 Degreez represented a critical peak for Juvenile, he also found great success with 2006’s Reality Check, which features the instantly iconic “Rodeo,” a sex-laced jam built around a looped guitar line and the MC’s subtle growl. Since then, Juvenile has continued to build his legacy as a chief architect of Southern rap, even reuniting with his former label boss, Birdman, for 2019’s collaborative LP, Just Another Gangsta.
HOMETOWNNew Orleans, LA
BORNMarch 26, 1975