400 Degreez was Juvenile’s 3rd solo album but the first that would enter hip hop’s mainstream and ultimately change the trajectory of the genre. Having previously released Being Myself on Warlock Records in 1995 and later Solja Rags on Cash Money Records in 1997, Juvenile released 400 Degreez, his 2nd album under Cash Money, on November 3rd, 1998.
Who Produced 400 Degreez?
The album was produced, in its entirety, by Cash Money Records in-house producer; Mannie Fresh. During this era of Cash Money Records, Mannie Fresh produced every single beat on every single record including group projects from The Hot Boys & The Big Tymers, as well as individual projects from Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne, and Turk.
When Was 400 Degreez Released?
Cash Money Records released 400 Degreez on November 3rd, 1998. As noted, it was Juvenile’s 2nd album with the label, following his 1997 Cash Money Records debut; Solja Rags. Juvenile had previously appeared on Cash Money albums including as a member of the Hot Boys (with B.G. Lil Wayne, & Turk) on Get it How u Live as well as several of BG’s solo projects.
Who Was Featured on 400 Degreez?
During this era, Cash Money preferred to keep features in-house which limited the potential guests on this album. However, 400 Degreez would become so popular within the hip hop community that legendary New York artist; Jay-Z went on to record a verse for the HA remix. This remix was not part of the original album release but was included in the subsequent re-release. Aside from The Hot Boys, Big Tymers, and Jay-Z, the album also featured Paparue.
Is 400 Degreez Juvenile’s Best Album?
Most would argue that the answer is an emphatic yes. 400 Degreez was easily Juvenile’s most successful album commercially, but it also remains critically acclaimed for its overall quality from both a production and performance standpoint. Some purists would argue that Juvenile’s previous album Solja Rags better showcased his raw rhyming skills, however, Juvenile gets a chance to shine lyrically on 400 Degreez as well, even if it’s in the lesser-known records.
400 Degreez Singles
The singles released were Follow Me Now, HA, and Back That Thang Up, with the latter being an edited version of the original song Back That Azz Up. Follow Me Now and HA were both released as singles in 1998 while Back That Thang Up was not released until June of 1999. It was Back That Thang Up that turned 400 Degreez into a historically successful album.
400 Degreez Lyrics
400 Degreez Songs
The album not only featured mainstream hits like Back That Thang Up and HA but also legendary album cuts like Ghetto Children, UPT, 400 Degreez, and Juvenile on Fire. For fans of New Orleans Hip Hop, the album is considered to be a classic play-through from start to finish.
400 Degreez Shirt
400 Degreez Album
400 Degreez Album Sales
400 Degreez has sold over 6 million copies at last check, with 4 million of those sales coming by the end of the year 2000.
Juvenile HA Influence
While Back That Azz Up is the most known record from the album, HA is the one that most significantly impacted Hip Hop. HA’s style was very unique for its time and had an ongoing influence over how rappers delivered rhymes going forward. You can hear the song’s influence within songs from modern artists like Meek Mill, Kanye West, Drake, and many others.
400 Degreez Recording Process
Mannie Fresh said in an interview with NPR that 400 Degreez was not sequenced and was instead recorded like a Marvin Gaye session in the ’70s. Juvenile would rap bars while Fresh and his musicians played instruments. Because it was done organically, sometimes the verse bars would not reach 16 and the producer would have to improvise to make the hooks line up.
It is believed that during this era, Cash Money artists would record not knowing which album a particular recording would end up on. This is especially relevant to tracks that featured members of The Hot Boys which could have ended up on the group album Guerilla Warfare or BGs solo album Chopper City in The Ghetto, which were recorded around the same time as 400 Degreez. Because of this, some casual fans mistakenly believe BG’s hit single Bling Bling is part of this Juvenile album.
Equipment Used on 400 Degreez
Mannie Fresh has stated that he used the SP 1200 during the recording process and that HA was produced exclusively with that machine. He used various keyboards as well and has cited his intention to implement orchestra music as part of Back That Thang Up.
Cash Money was known for not using samples in their productions, instead relying on the musical capabilities of in-house producer Mannie Fresh. Despite this, Fresh used creative ways of sampling that some may not have considered. For example, he took from his own library by sampling Solja Rags on a song with a similar structure; HA. He also used various sounds within drum pads
Although he avoided using looped samples (with some exceptions), Fresh admits he was inspired by lots of music and genres when crafting his own music. You can hear the Latin influence in Follow Me Now, the Bach influence on Back That AZZ Up and the Mantronix influence on UPT.
Was 400 Degreez a Classic?
Yes, without question. 400 Degreez is considered one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history, particularly for fans of southern hip hop. The album was also one of the most influential albums of the 90s and altered the way radio viewed southern artists.