October 22, 2015

Hot Boys - Get It How U Live!! (1997)

1997 was the year Cash Money blew up. Mannie Fresh left 1993's triggaman bounce beats to really begin polishing the new sound he hinted at on the transitional 187 In A Hockey Mask, The Bloody City, and Pimp'n Ain't E-Z albums. Not only was his production skill stepped up, but the amount of music he put out between 1997-1999 is staggering. Cash Money still hadn't been picked up by Universal in 1997 and were hungry for more than just regional success across deep south urban pockets. With Mannie finding his stride and Baby and Slim's success as indie CEO's, it was the perfect time for the second incarnation of the Hot Boys to piece together. Juvenile and B.G. were Cash Money's bread and butter and ultimately demonstrated the young group's potential for Universal. As the oldest rappers in the group, they were unsurprisingly the first names to release solo albums that year. Cash Money also called on two--mainly unrecorded up to this point--kids they signed as pre-teens at the early part of the decade, Turk (16 years old) and Lil Wayne (15 years old). The end product is one of the most flavorful, diverse, and balanced rap groups all time. Juvie's street drawl is spiced up by Wayne's voice and attentive flow over the relaxed New Orleans call and response culture found in bounce music. It's all then neutralized by the steadfast coolness of B.G. and the mic-hunger of the other baby gangsta, Turk. The group raps about keeping it real in the most standoffish way and how Cash Money goes about its business; it's not much different from what you'd hear on every other Cash Money album from 1997-1999, but the Hot Boys are too original in the way they say their shit over Mannie Fresh's beats that you can't possibly stop listening. Get It How U Live!! doesn't have as many scorching or standout moments as Chopper City In The Ghetto, 400 Degreez, or Guerilla Warfare, but the way this group meshes together in their first recording sessions tied together by the sly grooves of Mannie Fresh makes this a kind of sub-classic that's well worth listening to.


Get It How U Live!!