The Geto Boys, OutKast and No Limit Records may have paved the way for southern hip-hop, but it wasn't until a label out of New Orleans headed by Bryan "Baby" Williams stepped on the scene that the hip-hop civil war finally took a turn.
Beginning with the release of back-to-back platinum albums with Juvenile's '400 Degreez' and B.G.'s 'Chopper City in the Ghetto,' Cash Money decided to unleash 'Guerrilla Warfare' featuring Juvenile, B.G., and the runts of the clique Lil Wayne and Turk -- then known as the Hot Boys.
Released on July 27, 1999, the album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 142,000 units in the first week. Powered by the momentum established by the label's last two albums and the hit singles 'We On Fire' and 'I Need A Hot Girl,' 'Guerrilla Warfare' all but took the shine off another Louisiana-based empire and had the whole country wearing money embroidered bandanas.
But a platinum plaque, classic singles and influence aside, does the album still stand the test of time? We gave 'Guerrilla Warfare' a re-listen to find out and get to the bottom of the matter.
Juve, B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk immediately let you know what they're about with the high octane 'We On Fire.' Serving as the album's lead single, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart and the music video for the track was also a hit on various countdown shows. Effortlessly tossing couplets off of one another detailing their stuntastic, head-bussin' ways, the track remains one of the defining cuts in the Cash Money discography.
The winning streak continues with 'Respect My Mind.' All four members contribute solid verses here. Spitting 'I know that he sheisty, but this n---- just don't know / Swear to God, I ain't bout it, but this n---- just don't know / I Gotta few under my belt and I'ma make him one more / Cock the .44 and knock his brains out on the floor," Juvenile takes the cake as he details a case of retribution. In vivid fashion, the rapper tells the story of a snitch being responsible for his father's incarceration.
'Help' sees B.G. getting some solo air-time and carries the track all the way to the end zone. Picking right up where he left off from his recently released 'Chopper City in the Ghetto' album, he gets busy from jump, rhyming "Luxury cars on chrome, I played that / Five figure bonds on charges, I paid that / Ounces of coke at a young age, look, I weighed that / My clique done blowed up, you know haters, they hate that." Score another banger for team CMB.
Juvie, Wayne and Turk join B.G. for the menacing selection 'Riding.' Featuring sinister keys courtesy of Mannie Fresh, the Hot Boys ride and creep all over the beat with ease and continue the album's winning streak.
'Guerrilla Warfare's' first misstep appears in the plodding 'Get Out the Way.' A less than stellar Mannie Fresh beat matched with lazy, uninspired verses from the crew equals the skip button during more listens than not.
The second solo selection comes via Lil Wayne with the urgent 'Clear Tha Set.' While Weezy's rapid flow is on point and this effort is respectable, nothing about the track distinguishes itself from the rest and falls a tad bit short of being memorable.
Baby joins in on the family affair on the bouncy 'I Feel,' throwing props to his crew while Juvenile provides the unapologetic in-your-face hook. Turk and Wayne also provide solid verses, and collectively, get the proceedings back on track.
Another less than memorable performance comes via 'Boys At War.' While B.G. delivers a dope verse, the same can't be said for Juvenile, Wayne and Turk, who mail it in lyrically.
Juvenile's turn at some solo shine comes in the form of 'You Dig.' Mannie Fresh chose to get a little experimental with this beat and the results were mixed at best and Juvenile doesn't fair much better. Turk's hook is about the only thing that stands out about this track and that's even a toss-up.
'I Need A Hot Girl,' the most popular song on the LP, is an undisputed classic in the grand scheme of things and known to have gotten burn at many a party in its heyday. And while it is far from a trash bin casualty, it has lost a little of its luster over the years. Even the biggest CMB apologist has to admit that the hook is flat-out cheesy.
The Hot Boys give fair warning about Task Force 'Tuesday & Thursday' with this aptly titled track. All the members appear and contribute respectable verses, but as a whole, the effort is average at best and won't have you clamoring for an encore to say the least.
Turk, who enjoyed a coming out party of his own lyrically on 'Guerrilla Warfare,' is last but definitely not least with his solo track 'Bout Whatever.' Utilizing one of the better Mannie Fresh productions featured on the album, Turk delivers three dope verses as well as a memorable duet of a hook with the help of Lil Wayne, making this track a winner.
New Orleans and Jamaica meet unexpectedly on the experimental 'Shoot 1st.' Featuring an infectious, reggae-influenced hook, Wayne, Turk, B.G. and Juvenile go for broke with their 16s, resulting in an unexpected treat.
'Guerrilla Warfare' closes out with 'Too Hot' and sees the crew hitting on all cylinders. Mannie Fresh comes through with a more than serviceable track, and all of the Hot Boys come through with solid verses. While not the most epic exit, it more than does the trick and closes out the album on a high note.