After JAY-Z graced Juvenile’s 1998 hit song “Ha” for the remix, it solidified what the Hot Boys already knew: They had something special.
In September, a live edition of “Drink Champs” was filmed at the inaugural REVOLT WORLD, and the special guests were New Orleans’ own Mannie Fresh and Juvenile. During the interview with hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, the rap titans shared stories about their hometown’s culture, rise to fame, one of hip hop’s biggest records of all time, “Back That Azz Up,” and more.
The two Hot Boys members talked about the time they performed in New York at the legendary Tunnel Nightclub — a right of passage for some of today’s most prominent rappers — as they were growing their presence and fan base. Although the group was nervous to hit the stage, they said being in the Big Apple “was enough” for them.
“So, I think the first song we opened up with was ‘Ha’ and the f**king crowd went crazy. N**ga, we could’ve cried onstage,” Mannie told the hosts.
“We sung one… I think one or two more songs… But we had to sing ‘Ha’ like four more times to get up out that motherf**ker,” the “Slow Motion” rapper chimed in laughing.
Despite their music careers elevating prior to JAY-Z’s feature, they knew his stamp of approval meant they were making waves in the music industry.
“JAY-Z jumped on the remix,” Juvenile said. “That was one of the things where you sitting inside [and] they say, ‘JAY-Z on the remix.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ I’m trying to be cool in front of them and s**t and [then closed] the door like, ‘Yeah!’”
“Another crazy, crazy f**king story, right? So, Juve a hip hop head. He [knows] everything. He knows f**king [KRS-One], JAY-Z like he said… etc., but Baby and them [are] just strictly Cash Money,” Mannie added. “Listen to what I’m saying. They don’t give a f**k about nothing outside of our city. He really didn’t know who JAY-Z was. He did not understand, you know? So we feeling we won. Like, JAY-Z just jumped on this motherf**ker and Baby didn’t give a f**k.”
“I knew that s**t was like a whole ‘nother f**king world. Like, you know what I’m saying? Because… It was just so f**king generic. He just sent that b**ch back. We didn’t ask him to do it or none of that. We didn’t even know he did it. It was a surprise,” the “Still Fly” producer continued. “He just sent that s**t to [Universal Music Group] like, ‘This s**t needs to happen.’ They sent it to us and we was just like, ‘Wait, JAY-Z jumped on this?’”
Because one of the greats hopped on the record, Juvenile admitted he went back in the studio to rerecord his verses for the song.
“I went back to the studio,” he said chuckling. “Like, ‘Hey, bro, JAY on my s**t. I gotta get my s**t together. That n**ga is a lyricist. I gotta get my s**t together. N**ga’s gonna be on me now, bro’… It was funny as f**k.”
The Billboard Music Award winner went on to discuss how the “Family Feud” rapper’s presence grew in the South since the people there weren’t really listening to his music at the time.
“Truthfully, truthfully, to be honest, it helped JAY-Z a lot too in the South,” Juvenile said. “Because they wasn’t listening to him. We wasn’t listening. I’m gonna be honest — I was listening to him, but a lot of people weren’t.”
Later on, Mannie revealed his theory on how Hov got the track.
“I was asked if I had an instrumental. And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I didn’t know who the f**k it was going to,” he confessed. “I didn’t know who the instrumental was going to. I just thought the record label needed an instrumental… I had an idea, but I’m like, ‘Damn, he sent that b**ch back!’”
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