EWA100 - #95. Juvenile - Ha

95. Juvenile - Ha (Cash Money. 1998. From the LP 400 Degreez)

Raven Mack: I remember seeing this video and wondering why this fifteen-year-old kid was standing on his car in a standard rap video decrepit alley and not really rhyming but just saying "Hunh" at the end of every line. It seemed stupid. But it got stuck in my brain, like stupid stuff does far too often. Unfortunately, most of Juvenile's artistic library morphs into one song in my head where the hook is "She git it from her mama, back that ass up, she git it from her mama, back that ass up," and then the verse is just lines about the awesome shit this girl can do with each line having "hunh" at the end of it so it rhymes.
Funny how time changes perception, because this song was annoying as fuck at one point, but when you lay it alongside snap and trap music's strip club greatest hits that the south is most known for in recent years, it makes "Ha" sound like lyrical brilliance. And to be fair, Mannie Fresh might be one of my favorite beatmakers ever, only behind DJ Premier and the Rap-a-Lot Bido and them other dudes production team. Oh yeah, and Pete Rock. Also, early RZA but pretend when his younger brother 4th Disciple started being awesome at the same time RZA started getting all bobby digital and lazy, just splice early RZA into 4th Disciple starting at that point, and I like that person better as a beatmaker. So Mannie Fresh is like fifth favorite for me, so long as I don't start thinking about this more.

Mike Dikk: Just like everyone else, I think my first reaction to this video was “Is that guy even saying words?”, but once I got over that, I realized how incredibly amazing the beat was. It’s so grimy, yet still danceable, which is a pretty hard thing to do.
Another reason why I loved this song was because the video came out when the average rap video cost about a million dollars to make, and the only expensive thing in the "Ha" video was the car rental. I’m still surprised they even bothered to play this during regular mainstream rap hours and it wasn’t relegated to BET late night, although I think that’s where it originally started out.
Once this song hit big, Mannie Fresh paraded out five thousand more hot beats and I thought it would never end. I mean everything about them was pretty simplistic, but it didn’t matter. That dude was a genius that could take the most remedial sounding noises and mold them into the most hedonistic ass-shaking symphonies mortal man has ever heard. For me, his genius lasted up until I went to buy Tha G Code the day it came out. I’m still not sure what went wrong with that record, but there was a whole lot of wrong going on. Still, with the long string of Mannie Fresh hit singles, "Ha" will always be my favorite. The beat is like listening to hot bubbling asphalt in melodic form. Anytime I hear it, I automatically think of awful, humid weather, but in a good way.
I doubt any other producer will ever duplicate the reign Mannie Fresh had. In my mind, it lasted about ten years, but I think in reality it was only around 8 months, but it damn sure was a glorious 8 months.

Download: Juvenile - Ha & Ha (Hot Boyz Remix). Sorry, The Jay-Z remix was too scratched up.

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