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"400 Degreez" came out in 1998 as the third album from Cash Money rapper, Juvenile. It was his manstream breakthrough and had the New Orleans rapper break out from the underground Louisiana Rap scene with hits singles, "Ha" and "Back That Azz Up". All the guest performers are members of the Cash Money crew and amongst these include Turk (now deceased), B.G. and the top rapper of today, Lil' Wayne. Mannie Fresh does all the beats, and comes with a version of Bounce music (a local sub-genre of Hip Hop), here it is more likely to be called Gangsta Bounce with it adpt to Gangsta Rap lyrics.
This is one of the big singles off the album and it has him performing a tune which I'm not particularly fond of. When it comes to the verses, it is just terrrible, with him not even rapping, he just list things off his head, but it all comes together well with the chorus as the lack of order in the verses highlights the stength of a rigid form in the hook.
3. "Gone Ride With Me"
This one has him change up the approach of it all as the tempo is slowed right down in order to give him a chance to get into the mood of things as he wants to just cruise and flow with relavent content and style. It is fairly strong, and shows how Mannie is able merge tempos without hindering it in a way that it confuses you as to whether it is a slow, or quick one.
4. "Flossin' Season"
You get the Big Tymers and B.G. and Weezy Wee of the Hot Boys joinign Juvenile for this one. The highly crowded one is certianly likely to excite fas of Cash Money as you have them all doing exactly what they are know to do without going too far ahead of the game at the time. It is some simply feel-good rap.
5. "Ghetto Children"
You see where a lot of Lil' Wayne's influence for the melpdic raps has come from on this one as Juvenile comes with some harmonized raps to sohow that he has more to offer than just his below-average flows of rhymes. There's not particularly going on with the lyrics, but the warming beats keep you involved.
6. "Follow Me Now"
You have heavy Latin influence in this one, and it takes things to a new place, however as soon as Juvenile's rap come into it, it is just dragged down to the very low levels of rap that you get from the remainder of the record. I thought that Mannie's experiment could have been a lot more successful, had it been used with another artist.
7. "Cash Money Concert" (Lude)
8. "Welcome To Tha Nolia"
Juvenile represents his ends of Louisiana to the fullest on this one, but I thought that it was just as monotous as the rest of te material on hear. By this point, you realise that he only chooses to do the melodies when he needs to waste a couple of bars, and it becomes apparent how weak he is when you compare him to the guest, Turk.
The rapper is joined by the two main crews of Cash Money, the Big Tymers and the Hot Boys, and the influence of all these performers makes this a pretty exciting track for you to really get hyped about. Lots is going on it, and you have bassy production from Mannie Fresh to take control of this manic situation.
10. "Run For It"
You have more use of the Showboys' "Drag Rap" (Triggerman) on this one, and the results of it it are simairl to what you had found earlier on on the album, however the lead rappers raps were even worse than earlier on so it became much harder to tolerate it all by this point. Weezy's part in it all is only exciting as it shows great progression to see him now, and how he was as a teenage rapper.
11. "Ha" (Hot Boys Remix)
This is more than just having additional raps being added to things, you get some new, darker beats added to this one to offer it up as something more original as a remix to the first recording. However I have to say that at this point, the skills of B.G., Turk, and Lil' Wayne were pretty much non-existant, so there isn't much going for this track at all.
12. "Rich N****z"
You have Mannie fresh taking it back to the old "Drag Rap" sample for this, and since this acted as the bassi to all Bounce music, this throwback was perfect t show you that he is ready to take things to new places with somethiong progressive whilst retaining the original stuff too. Weezy starts it all off, and from this point to the end, I couldn't work out why thaat particular titel was chosen.
13. "Back That Azz Up"
This was the big hit off the album, and the one to really get everyone's attention from him. Although this rapid rise in popularity didn't manage to break into the UK crowd, he went at it hard, and came up with something big for him to be proud of. As a stand-alone tune, this is fair, but with an album of tracks using the low-quality raps that are only acceptable with this club music.
14. "Off Top"
Mannie Fresh kills it again as he takes it back to the early days of the Bounce sounds, and as the top producer in the area gets s chance to do what he does best, and he makes sure that he makes the tracks the best it can be (even if Juvenile's part in it all isn't that good).
15. "After Cash Money Concert" (Lude)
16. "400 Degreez"
The eponymous track from he album is nothing to get excited about at all, and if it wasn't for te Old School Bounce soudns from Mannie Fresh, I wouldn't be able to find a single thing right with this one. His production is just so original and well done that you can do nothing but enjoy what he comes up with. Juvenile on the other hand keeps it all on the same level with terrible raps, with the odd melodic element added to it.
17. "Juvenile On Fire"
This is amongst the best you find on the album and it is due to the fact that Mannie Fresh steps it up on the beats and comes with something a lot more exciting for him to work on. With lyrics lack-luster, this is essential if you want a postive reaction out of a listener for a tune which hasn't got everything going for it.
Louisiana rap has always been notoriously bad (see Master P), and it wasn't until Lil' Wayne matured that they finally had someone they could be proud of (Mystikal didn't last too long). This album is very poor when it comes to the raps, but Mannie Fresh' Old School-inspired Bounce beats make this one worth listening too.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro - Big Tymers, Juvenile
3 Gone Ride With Me
4 Flossin Season - B.G., Big Tymers, Juvenile
5 Ghetto Children
6 Follow Me Now
7 Cash Money Concert
8 Welcome 2 the Nolia - Juvenile, Turk
9 U.P.T. - Big Tymers, The Hot Boys, , Juvenile
10 Run for It - Juvenile, Lil Wayne
11 Ha [Hot Boys Remix][*]
12 Rich Niggaz - Juvenile, Lil Wayne, , Turk
13 Back That Azz Up - Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Manny Fresh
14 Off the Top - Big Tymers, Juvenile,
15 After Cash Money Concert
16 400 Degreez
17 Juvenile on Fire
18 Ha [Jay-Z Remix][*]