“ Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap / Artist: Juvenile / Audio CD released 2007-11-26 at Acrobat „
The debut album from the New Orleans, Louisiana rapper Juvenile was put out in 1995 prior to his signing to Birdman's Cash Money label. "Being Myself" has him establishing himself and the sort of material he comes with as a southern rapper performing at a time when the Dirty South wasn't receiving all that much attention.
2. "Betcha' 20 Dollars"
The album kicks off with Juvenile jumping up over some killer beats as he gets up over what was used to back up Rakim on the titular track to his and Eric B's debut album. I felt that it made for a nice East Coast feel to the music, which transferred through to the way in which he rhymed at this time too as the southern style of flowing was quite as established as it would be a couple of years later.
3. "What Cha Gotta Do" (Lude)
4. "G-Ing Men"
Although we do get a slight southern bounce to the beats here once more, this one clearly has lots more of the East Coast feel to it. Interestingly, the way he does it is quite an outdated way and sounds to be more of the late eighties style than where the Hip Hop world was at by '95 when the likes of OutKast, Goodie Mob and the Geto Boys had already made names for themselves. Nonetheless, I still thought it was done well.
5. "Powder Bag"
The beats really slap away on this one and set things up nicely to have a slight UGK-esque feel to it. From here, we find that he takes on a similar sort of style as them as he runs out with rhymes which highlight his time on the streets selling things which gave him a reputation as a 'Hot Boy' once he made his way to Cash Money Records. This is a raw southern Rap track and has a lot of intensity to it.
6. "Pass Azz N***a"
For this one he decides to get up at those who he can't stand for simply not having what's needed to be 'real' in the streets. He takes on Dancehall influences in the way that he delivers the rhymes and here it's much more apparent that this is where his rhyming roots are in - as he continued this way but lots the Jamaican-edged accent later. It got a little annoying by this point and so I didn't see this one as good as others up to this point.
7. "U Can't C Me"
The way that the beats slap away on this one clearly take on a West Coast feel and it seemed that he carried this through into the way he came out with the rhymes. I thought that it made for some great results as he gets the G-Funk flowing and he straight jacks off the biggest names of Gangsta Rap and does a pretty job at ensuring that his flows stay up to things which you'd expect out of such material.
8. "Shake Dat Azz"
Sampling Keith Sweat's "Make It Last Forever", this one sees him clam things right down as we find that he manages to deliver a completely different side to himself and rhyming in a much more soppy way to some degree. I felt that this one was a little confused and the ideas couldn't be pulled off when there were so many conflicting things, however I felt that locals would have appreciated the variety.
9. "Somethin' I Forgot / I Blowed"
On this one we get a pretty funky track from him and one which clearly takes much more influence from the sorts of people around him (in the south) and those who primarily felt that the West Coast's style was much closer to home to then, but it needed a little something to make it sound like what they want Hip Hop to be. This is a pretty fly one, but here the Dancehall flows remind me of the rhyming patterns of Doug E. Fresh's second album.
10. "Sling It To Tha Back"
On this track we have another which directly takes from what had been coming out of South Central LA in terms of Hip Hop on the years leading up to this point and I felt that it made for some strong foundations to the material. From there, he decides to go for the explicitly-sexual rhymes which I felt took on a lot of Eazy-E and Too $hort influences to them, but it wasn't all that special as a track really.
11. "Conversation With The Man Above"
The album comes to an end here (before a couple of pointless short ones) with a track which has him rhyming towards God after he decides that the day before he came a little too close to seeing him. I thought that, surprisingly, this one came out really quite well and so you can't really have much hate on it when he manages to do it in a way which effectively describes what inner0city life in life in his ends of the country.
12. "Shout Out" (Lude)
13. "Radio Dial" (Outro)
I thought that this was a pretty decent album from Juvenile. We find that in it he comes up with a range of tunes which takes the listeners all around the country with the influences which he takes on in the music. I saw it to be better than his Cash Money material simply for its variety and his coast hopping.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Betcha 20 Dollars (Bounce It)
3 What Cha Gotta Do
4 G-ing Man
5 Powder Bag
6 Pass Azz Nigga
7 U Can't C Me
8 Shake Dat Azz
9 Something I Forgot/I Blowed
10 Sing It To Tha Back
11 Shout Out
12 Conversation With Tha Man Above (1)
13 Radio Dial
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 If You're A Player
2 U Can't Come Around
3 Conversation With Tha Man Above
4 Sing It To Tha Back
5 Something I Forgot
6 G-ing Man
7 Powder Bag
8 Betcha 20 Dollars (Bounce It)
9 Pass Azz Nigga