Grade A Certified

"THE HOT BOYS REUNION CHECKLIST…"

Posted by J. Tinsley on April 20, 2009

“That Hot Boy shit still in me nigga…”–(c) Lil Wayne “I Miss My Dawgs”

Before I truly acknowledged the greatness that was Big Boi and Andre 3000 and even before I began to truly soak up game that Bun B and Pimp C preached so effortlessly, there was one group who left a definitive impact on my adolescent years…The Hot Boys.  Led by Juvenile, who was the most commercially successful member at the time, and B.G., whose Chopper City In The Ghetto was in rotation EVERYWHERE, the then start up Cash Money Records had success at their feet and a money in their pockets. Not to mention they had some young kid named Lil Wayne. The quadruplets from New Orleans also left an indelible mark on hip-hop as well. Contrary to what Dem Franchise Boyz will ever say, Cash Money’s Four Horsemen were the pioneers of the white tee movement and the architects of the now classic phrase, “Bling Bling”.

The Hot Boys, in addition to No Limit before them, were one of the first movements in what would eventually become the southern takeover, which is still being felt to the present day. It’s sometime hard to believe that a decade has passed since Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk were hip-hop’s hottest quartet and over six years since their last group album. Fast forward that same decade, and the current situations of each member vary. Turk is still awaiting release from prison following a shoot out with a SWAT team in 2004 during a drug-raid gone bad in Memphis, Tennessee. B.G. is prepping the release for his upcoming album, Too Hood To Be Hollywood, via Atlantic Records. Juvenile is a shell of his former self (although he’ll be making an appearance at a club in my area on April 24). Lil Wayne, well, he did alright for himself if I must say so.

The prospect of a Hot Boys reunion has been a topic which has always presented itself as feasible, yet unattainable. Wayne’s classic ode to his former group members, “I Miss My Dawgs”, on 2004’s Tha Carter actually raised spirits that the fire would be rekindled and by gones would be, in fact, by gones.  However, after B.G.’s claim that Weezy wasn’t “sincere” on the record, years of bickering between the two ensued, including B.G.’s “Triggerman”, which dropped during my sophomore year in college and found B.G. taking shots at Wayne’s girlfriend at the time, Trina. In recent months, the script has flipped again and the prospect of a new album from the group is a strong possibility with the Trey Songz assisted cut, “Ya Heard Me”, and “If I Ain’t A Hot Boy” proving studio sessions had already taken place.

Before we jump the gun, there’s three things needed to ensure this comeback doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Although unlikely to create the magic the earlier segments of their careers showcased, maybe, just maybe, if they can pull these three suggestions off, we could be looking at one of the better group albums in recent years.

1. Get Juvenile’s old voice back

  • Regardless of whatever Juve’s legacy amounts to at the end of the day, he’s still the owner of one of the rawest southern LP’s in hip-hop in 400 Degreez. He would eventually follow up with The G-Code and Project English, both of which weren’t horrible albums and had successful singles to match. However, as the years slipped past Juvenile, his marquee voice seemed to fade from him as well. Please forgive me for speaking how another man’s voice changed, but I know for a fact I’m not the only one to notice this. When his voice altered, so did his music. That and leaving Cash Money, too. If Juve can somehow resurrect his lyrics and voice to reflect that of the guy from yesteryear, who knows? Juve was, in fact, everyone’s favorite Hot Boy for awhile, including myself. People can lie and say Wayne was their favorite since 21 Jump Street, but those are also the same people who can’t tell you the name of his first album. Go figure.

2. Create the anthems they were known for

  • Artists often talk how important it is to find their “lane”. The Hot Boys lane was creating “ignorant” hit records and never deviating from that formula led them (well, Baby & Slim at least) to more money than Magnoila Projects will probably ever see. New year, same formula. No one wants to hear Wayne, Juve, B.G. Turk, Mannie (and Baby…) speak on topics such as the state of Guantanamo Bay or what to do with the failing economy. Ignorant raps will suffice just fine.
  • With that said, however, there has to be at least ONE song addressing the break-up of the group.

3. Secure the RIGHT guest features/production

  • Aside from Weezy, the rest of the remaining members’ buzzes leave a lot to be desired. However, with the right guest features anything is possible. Rick Ross, T.I., Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Bun B are obvious choices and would most likely end up on the album. New Yorkers, Jadakiss and Cam’ron, both of whom are no stranger to collabing with southern artists, would be welcomed additions. Hooks? Aside from Wayne being rather reliable for a hot hook, Trey Songz (who they’ve worked with already) and T-Pain could potentially provide for some memorable choruses.
  • It’s common knowledge that Mannie Fresh would handle the bulk of the production, and although that’s never a bad thing, some of the outside usual suspects could potentially add insane instrumentals to the mix. Drumma Boy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and DJ Toomp, just to name a few, are all producers who I’m pretty sure would be more than willingly to put their stamp on the project.

In reality, who knows if this project will ever see the light of day. While most of me believes the Hot Boys reunion album will have the same release date as Dr. Dre’s Detox and Juelz Santana and Lil Wayne’s I Can’t Feel My Face, Nevuary 33, 2093, just the sheer possibility that it COULD is enough for me. I’d much rather this than a rock album.

That’s just me though.

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