March 2, 2011

Juvenile: The UTP Years (Part 2; 2001 to 2003)


Prelude: In November 2000, Juvenile began to be seen less and less nationally when the first Cash Money Records without him was aired. It was Cash Money Millionaires "Project Bitch". The original track featured the Big Tymers, Juvenile & Lil' Wayne. The video version, "Project Chick", added a verse & video appearance from B.G., which was a highly sought after version of the track. Through much of early 2001, Juvenile was having major conflict with Cash Money's head-honchos Ronald & Bryan Williams, a.k.a. Slim & Baby. His, at the time, final release with the label, "Project English", was originally supposed to drop in early April 2001. Due to delays the first single, "Set It Off", was released at the top of August. The album did not drop until August 21st, 2001.
 UTP's Inception: Once Juvenile "cleared waivers" he took his self-made free agency to the streets of New Orleans to get his own label up & moving. He got together with his brother, Corey "CEO" Grey & Aubrey "Pied Piper" Francis to jump-start Uptown Project Records.

 At this point in time Juvenile had already recruited his roster during his last four months with Cash Money Records. His first recruit was non other than Cash Money Records next possible artist to shine, Young Buck. Right after that he called up Hollygrove's new hope, Skip, & just after that Wacko, Juvenile's old friend out of the Magnolia. He completed his core talent with another 3rd Ward artist, Corey Cee. In the early summer of 2001, closer to the time of his release from CMR, Juvenile topped his label off with Houston R&B standout, Billy Cook & short-time Cash Money hookman, Chilli. The label was set & Juvenile was ready to makes some moves once August 2001 came.

After the release of "Project English" in August 2001, Juvenile filmed a documentary about the first two months of traveling & recording UTP Records' first record/Skip's debut album, "Live From Hollygrove". The film was well circulated throughout the world of hip-hop. Once the filmed was released Juvenile also dropped Skip's album on October 23rd, 2001. UTP Records was on the move in a big way after the documentary & Skip's album were released. 

Coming Of Age: Once the new year hit in 2002 Juvenile started to prepare his street album, "600 Degreez", & the "UTP Playas Compilation". In March of 2002, Juvenile released his first album off of Cash Money since his 1995 album, "Being Myself". "600 Degreez" featured the hit diss single, "A Hoe" which featured Skip. The other street hit was "All About Money" featuring Lil' Flip & Skip. At the end of the album a sneek peek at the "UTP Playas Compilation" with the future hit single "You Ready" which featured all seven UTP artists, including Juvenile. After a Summer 2002 tour & recording on the road into early Fall 2002, Juvenile was set to release the "UTP Playas Compilation" on October 23rd, 2002. Then on November 19th, 2002 UTP Records released "Juvenile & UTP: Live In St. Louis" DVD. 

End Of An Era: In December 2002, Young Buck released his UTP debut, "Born To Be A Thug". Juvenile was very happy with the direction the label was going. He would run into a major issue for the label when Young Buck claimed Juvenile left him in an airport on the West Coast in Spring 2003. It was all speculation & mostly talked about by Buck. This confrontation would lead to Young Buck leaving to sign with G-Unit Records. He had been in touch with them since the recording of Juvenile's "600 Degreez" album. 

 In Spring 2003 things started to shift in different directions for Juvenile & UTP Records as his original roster started to reform. After Young Buck's departure, Corey Cee decided to lay low, Billy Cook went back to Houston to record solo work off UTP & not many are even sure what Chilli went on to do. The label had shrunk down to just Juvenile, Skip & Wacko. In roughly the mid-to-late Summer of 2003 Juvenile added Partners-N-Crime (Kango Slim & Mr. Meana), Ms. Tee, D-Boyz (Lac & Stone) & Big Zuse to the UTP Records roster. 

Return to CMR/Conclusion: A lot was left in question by the fans from late Summer to mid Fall 2003 regarding Juvenile & UTP Records. The biggest surprise came in late October 2003 when Juvenile had resigned with Cash Money Records! He released the lead single featuring Mannie Fresh, "In My Life". Juvenile's final Cash Money album dropped December 23rd, 2003 entitled "Juve The Great". In February 2004 Juvenile would released the 2nd single, "Bounce Back" featuring Birdman & his 3rd, & biggest, single off the album in late April 2004, "Slow Motion" featuring the late Soulja Slim.

 Juvenile left Cash Money Records around the time of "Slow Motion" being released.


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