Juve the Great (Universal)

Juvenile 

Juve the Great (Universal)

Juvenile wasn't the best rapper to come out of the Cash Money clique, but he was easily the most charismatic, possessing a gravelly voice that dripped with the flavor of New Orleans. Propelled by Mannie Fresh's effervescent production, Juvenile's inimitable vocals were the driving force behind most of Cash Money's big hits, including his signature solo tunes, "Ha" and "Back That Azz Up." Heads turned when Juve departed the fold a few years ago and began lambasting the firm's business practices, claiming that the only Cash Money Millionaires were the company's owners. This theory gained credence when other integral members, including BG and Young Turk, split in search of greener pastures. Many thought Juvenile would go on to bigger and better things, but the rapper seemed to flounder in his downtime, making an occasional guest appearance but issuing no new product of his own.

Which is why it's surprising to see Juve return to Cash Money with his tail between his legs. Touted as a reunion of sorts, Juve the Great features just one Fresh production and no appearances from the Hot Boys. The Fresh track, "It's My Life," is stale. It suffers from a tired retread of a chorus (something about buying jewels, fucking hos and smoking weed), but Juvenile's sprightly verses still swerve like a car ducking in and out of traffic. It's the best moment on an album that's far too short on highlights. Juve's flow is on point, but banal lyrics and unimaginative beats make Great anything but.

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