DAR Hip Hop: Hot Boy$' Guerrilla Warfare

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Intro 
2. We On Fire 
3. Respect My Mind 
4. Help 
5. Ridin 
6. Off Tha Porch
7. Get Out The Way
8. Clear Tha Set 
9. I Feel
10. Boys At War
11. You Dig
12. I Need A Hot Girl 
13. Tuesday & Thursday 
14. Bout Whatever 
15. Sick Uncle
16. Shoot 1st
17. Too Hot

They said they were taking over for the 99 and the 2000. They didn't lie. From the moment Cash Money Records rose to prominence, it was always well known that the four man collective christened the Hot Boy$ had something special. The four MCs each brought their own versatile brand to the table and when combined, they make up one of the greatest groups in the history of hip hop. Yes, one of the greatest ever. What they may have lacked in lyrical dominance, they made up for in entertainment, reality rap, and comedy. The tales of life in New Orleans and the different perspectives always made for an interesting listen.

Turk, the more forgotten MC of the entire click, brought his own style to the table with his simple yet effective lyricism that didn't necessarily steal the show, but complemented the rest of the group very well. Then of course, the true O.G. of Cash Money, B.G., who is one of the most raw rappers in the history of the South honestly. A legend in his own right, B.G. was able to carry the Cash Money brand early on through the mid 90's before the other stars rose to some fame. Lil Wayne, who was a Cash Money veteran at this point himself, was the young but focused hungry MC, who at first seemed like he couldn't hang with his older rhyme partners, but surprised the world with his style, his rapid fire flow, and shockingly intricate lyricism for his age.

And then there was Juvenile. As 1999 began, Juvenile was on top of the world. With the release of his eventual 5 million record selling 400 Degreez coming near the close of 1998, Juvenile was sitting on two big hits in "Ha" and "Back That Azz Up" and one of the biggest rappers in the world. He was the driving force of the commercial emergence of Cash Money and essentially, the Hot Boys seemed like it was HIS group just based off the perception. Juvenile wasn't the lead rapper of the group, he was just the biggest star there at the time. I will say that Juvenile was far ahead of the others in terms of rapping, as Juvenile is one of the most underrated MCs ever IMO and a top 5 Southern MC of all time (under Andre 3000, Big Boi, and Scarface), but he still wasn't the lead rapper of the group. Everyone was seemingly on equal footing in the Hot Boys and that's how it should be.

After the 1997 release of Get It How U Live, the foursome went back into the studio to create something special. In between the recording of the new Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Big Tymers, and B.G. albums, the Hot Boys would create an album that still stands as one of the three best releases to come from Cash Money Records. On July 27, 1999, Cash Money released the sophomore effort from the Hot Boys titled Guerrilla Warfare. Now, 17 years later, with Juvenile solidified as a certified southern legend, Wayne being seen as one of the greatest of the last generation, B.G. one of the more underrated legends of the south, and Turk still growing and shining, we look back on the crowning achievement of the Cash Money collective. This is the Hot Boys. This is Guerrilla Warfare.

The Album 
Of course, Mannie Fresh handles the production on the album, and it wouldn't be a Cash Money album without him. His production here is the expected sinister, keyboard led, and 808 drum heavy style, but he goes deeper into the well to pull out some newer sounds than usual. The rolling sounds of the intro lead into the lead single and one of my favorite Hot Boys songs "We On Fire", which is a minimal production, as the whole collective trade bars back and forth throughout each verse. Each MC raps for 2 bars a piece, then they repeat this order once more to complete a full 16 bar verse. It was a different way of structuring a song with 4 MCs, as it was not your usual two rappers to a verse, but the synergy worked amazingly here. I still think that's the most underrated aspect of this song is how it is structured, with the line up working like this on the track:

Lil Wayne 

I did hope that they would change the order up and put Wayne first and Juvenile last or Turk first and B.G. last, but regardless this works and is a dope beginning to this album. After the dope style of "We On Fire" welcomes us, we get what I feel is the best song of the entire album on "Respect My Mind", which begins with a sinister rhythm and has a murderous hook that is truly infectious. The song itself is flawless, as each MC coasts through the production seamlessly. The hook, as I mentioned however, really carries this track, and at its essence, it's the best hook on the entire album in its delivery by Wayne and B.G.:

"Respect my mind or get your brains knocked out/
Respect my mind or have them boys in your house/
Respect my mind, look, we be ridin' on chrome/
Respect my mind 'cause we get our shine on/
Respect my mind 'cause we that Hot Boy clique/
Respect my mind, nigga, you can't phase this/
Respect my mind, look, we'll fuck your bitch/
Respect my mind, look, we 'bout that gangsta shit/"

See, it's not the most intricate hook by far, but it just works so well. Most of all, it sounds great. The B.G. solo track follows next with "Help", and while it's one of my least favorite songs on the album, B.G. holds it down with some of his special brand of gangsta lyricism and street wisdom. The whole crew comes back together for "Ridin", which is an anthem for the collective, and the dark production helps carry their rhymes to the next level. What's noticed up until this point on the album is that each MC has a distinct vibe from their rapping style to the delivery in their verses. The style difference in each can be really heard on "Ridin", and the contrast is what makes them such a special group. While all clearly southern MCs, Turk's delivery was as straightforward as possible with less of an emphasis on lyrics, while B.G. had a somewhat strange flow that was only accentuated by his voice and lyrics that didn't always rhyme or fit the standard bar build. Wayne was the most regular of the bunch, spitting at times in a rapid fire speed, but limited by his age and his ability at such at a young age. Juvenile had the harmonizing flow and the more profound lyrics to go with, but he could still hit you with a hood story in the midst of that.

That difference in style I spoke about continued on yet another anthem from them on "Get Out Tha Way", which sounds like the soundtrack to a late night mission. No, I don't mean a late night mission like in the bedroom or with a beautiful woman, but a late night mission like you're riding in the car searching for the folks who you have beef with. This is a song that fits perfectly for it. That feel is continued on Lil Wayne's solo track "Clear Tha Set", and for some reason, I can't see to get into this one too much anymore. It's tough to revisit old Wayne tracks at times, and this is one that falls into that category. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song at all, it just falls slightly flat from the rest of the album so far. Wayne wasn't necessarily able to hold down a solo song here on this album, and it showed here.

After Wayne's solo, we get treated to the Hot Boys telling us how they feel on "I Feel", which serves as a bit of a diss track in a way, as they call out folks stealing their style and people attempting to be like them. One would say that could possibly be directed at No Limit, as it was during this time that tensions were at their highest. Either way, the Hot Boys took time to address some unnamed rivals and all signs would point to that. In a bit of a poetic justice, the next track is "Boys At War", which flows perfectly from the aforementioned "I Feel". Aggressive and in your face, "Boys At War" is in some ways the embodiment of what the Hot Boys represented. Juvenile continued the dopeness with his solo track "You Dig", and while I actually prefer this track over "Ha" and the later released "U Understand", I just think rehashing this formula was a bit unnecessary. However, the song is immensely entertaining.

The big single "I Need A Hot Girl", which likely helped to sell the album even more than "We On Fire", follows and each verse is something special in its own right, as Mannie Fresh kicks the track off beautifully, only to be followed by one of Baby's most repetitive yet hilarious verses. B.G. takes the cake with the actual best verse on the song, but I absolutely love the chemistry between Turk and Wayne on the final verse of the song, and each comes with catchy lines that made me rap along then and now. It's not often that you would see such an anthem directed as the women from our hoods, who held us down, but Cash Money specialized in true ghetto music, and that's exactly what "I Need A Hot Girl" was, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible. After "I Need A Hot Girl", the album gets much darker again, beginning with "Tuesday & Thursday", detailing the cops and the days they do their usual sweeps. It's a honest look at the struggle that comes with street life (if that makes sense), and how to be careful and watch out for the police.

Turk finally gets his solo with the knocking "Bout Whatever", and it's more so a call to arms than anything. Turk is strapped up and ready for warfare. If you want problems, let Turk know and he'll oblige you. While this track isn't necessarily the best on the album, it allows Turk his opportunity to showcase himself and it works. As the album winds down to the very end, there's two more songs to go and both are pretty dope. "Shoot 1st" is a super dope track, with Papa Rue on the hook, providing the infectious chorus, and all the members of the group show up with solid verses. I'm partial to Juve's verse on this track, but every MC does their thing on this one. Fresh provides a slightly upbeat production that manages to invigorate them all. I'm honestly disappointed and surprised that this wasn't given a video or made a single, and I can only assume they decided against it since the hook features the term "murderer", but the song itself definitely would have been greater with a video. Missed opportunities.

The final track "Too Hot" feels like yet another anthem, but it is a perfect choice to close out this album. Guerrilla Warfare used to be a perfect album to me, but now when I reflect on it, I see that it's not necessarily perfect in terms of quality, but more so perfect in what it represented and what it can bring up, as far as memories. I'd rank the album itself as a 9 out of 10, because it was damn near flawless then and now. It's the epitome of Cash Money and their great run at the time. However, before we go any deeper in the legacy of this album, let's take a moment to pick out some of my favorite verses on there.

Favorite Verses
-Though none of these guys were viewed as lyrical monsters, they all managed to spit some dope verses on this album. Juvenile is the true MVP of this album from a verse standpoint and if I had to name his best verses on the album, I'd have to give him credit for a few, especially his verses on "Respect My Mind", "Get Out The Way" and "Tuesday & Thursday". His verse on "Respect My Mind" is particularly dope, and my favorite verse of his on the album.

Juvenile's Verse on Respect My Mind
"Nigga, watch me grow up
When I was small, he had a plan/
My daddy was ballin', and he was the right-hand man/
My poppa bought us a house to keep our family secure/
Livin' good on a ranch in the middle of the woods/
I understood at a young age my poppa would spray/
Seen him slit a nigga throat and shoot one up in the face/
He'd beat murder case after case/
He was untouchable/
But he had a right-hand man that wasn't trustable/
Who undercover so, he made deals under the table/
Workin' for the Feds 'round my people wearin' a cable/
My daddy got busted, so he got left with the dope/
All our shit got repossessed, and our family was flat broke/
Moved back inside the projects in summer of '84/
Developed my hustlin' skills from Yomey and Black Zo/
When I got to the point that I wasn't small no more/
Hooked up the same nigga that handled my daddy dough/
I know that he sheisty, but this nigga just don't know/
Swear to God I ain't 'bout it, but this nigga just don't know/
I got a few under my belt and I'ma make it one more/
Cock the 4-4 and knock his brains out on the floor/"

One of the strongest suits for Juvenile was telling a story in his verse and certainly he managed to do that in this verse. He chooses style more so than storytelling on "Get Out Tha Way", but I love his verse here. Check it out.

Juvenile's Verse On Get Out Tha Way
"Now motherfuck that/
You got my money I don't trust that/
Look black, give me what's mine fo you get bust at/
Now up that/
Cause my trigga finger's be starving/
Depause them/
Niggas that be jumping over margins/
Now call them laws for me like he had a big crime too/
This ain't no warning you gonna have to/
It's a reason niggas be doing what they do/
I feel like you feel when somebody playing wit you/
All time, I don't stop, ya'll don't stop/
Like Jordan Block we hit em up wit dumb glocks/
We run shop CMR stamp of approval/
My nut's drop on your partna just like they choose you/
It's so many niggas out here trying to shine/
Fucking with a champ, running off at the same time/
Haters gonna come and go cause I'm a strong little nigga/
See and see tell me what's going on little nigga/"

Juvenile, as I said, is the true MVP of this album, and his verses are equal parts infectious and dope. He uses such a sing songy flow at times that every verse of his can be a true hip hop quotable because they all inspire you to rap along with it. Nothing can be more infectious than the song that was in the same vein as "Ha", on the booming "You Dig" with Turk on the hook. Juve's first verse is so smooth and starts off the song just right. Check it.

Juvenile's Verse On You Dig
"I was standin on the muthafuckin corner, you dig/
Head buzzing cuz I'm rolling marijuana, you dig/
My lil cousin keep on asking me for money, you dig/
I'm looking at her crazy cause I think it's funny, you dig/
Could have got yourself a job, or do something, you dig/
Baggin pennies, minimum wage is better than nothing you dig/
Some black folk got too much pride that's why they struggling, you dig/
Gotta get up off yo ass and start to hustle, you dig/
I don't wanna live that life no more, I'm chillin, you dig/
I got a plan to be the man and make a million, you dig/
I got a problem with some niggas that be stealing, you dig/
But it's all gravy, I know I'm gon sell a million, you dig/
I told my momma I'ma put you in a mansion, you dig/
Cash Money Records done made an expansion, you dig/
We be in the studio, working like dogs, you dig/
One day in the future it's gon pay off, you dig/"

Aside from the solid momentum of Juve, B.G. steps up to shine on the album also, but his most solid verse to me comes on the aggressive "Boys At War", as he spits some simple yet gangsta rhymes over the sick Mannie Fresh production.

B.G.'s Verse On Boys At War
"Now it was drama going on in my neck of the woods/
Beef kickin' through out the hood/
Niggas up to no good/
Look here..They strappin' up, click clackin' up... loading dem thangs/
Niggas are taggin', they backin' up, they let' em hang/
My niggas walkin' up, pullin' up, fuck a drive by/
Cuz the nigga on the passenger side automatically die/
Capable to slide, with' a U-P-T/
You out of bound/
You ain't from uptown/
Cross Martin Luther King
Its pistol play on the up and up/
Niggas being big mouthed so they gettin tossed up/
You better be about yo business cause its going down/
Niggas gettin' out, two weeks later they body found/
I can't be fuckin' with them niggas drawing beef to me/
Have me in shoot outs that don't concern the B.G/
I play it like the next nigga, fuck he play it raw/
But I gotta watch my fuckin' ass cause them boys at war/"

B.G. honestly has one of his best verses on the album on the single "I Need A Hot Girl", as it's such a catchy verse that you can't deny it. The same could be said for Mannie Fresh's verse as well as Baby's verse, but B.G. is equally hilarious and raunchy. Check it out.

B.G.'s Verse On I Need A Hot Girl
"Where my bitch at?
Look, a hot girl is a silent hoe/
If a bitch get outta line she a violent hoe/
Ain't no pest, far from being a whining hoe/
Fuck up, she confess, she ain't no lying hoe/
That's what I need, a hot girl is a jazzy bitch/
I'd take her any day for a classy bitch/
On the down low for her nigga she a nasty bitch/
I tell her touch it, she gonna reach down and grab the dick/
I bust a nut, it's soft, she get it back hard/
The police kick in the door, she take the charge/
If a nigga go to jail, she run for a nigga/
Money orders, business, and front ones for a nigga/
She hear a nigga balling, work her body for her nigga/
Lemme come thrugh, hit the stash, and rock-a-bye the nigga/
I can't see no other bitch for the B.G/
But a hot girl fo' sho' call her a H.G./"

With B.G. on his shit, the two youngest members had to show up as well. Wayne wasn't really on his best lyrically here, and he had a few moments where he didn't really standout, but his verse on "I Feel" is one that's noteworthy to me for him. It's one of his most solid verses on the album and pretty entertaining like it needed to be to make him be the one who slightly steals the show.

Lil Wayne's Verse On "I Feel"
"Nigga I feel like that everything I write/
Somebody else will bite/
I really think its the south, Fresh tracks they be tight/
I just can't explain/
I feel like when 2000, come it'll be all about Wayne/
I feel like the Hot Boy$, them should be the president/
I feel like burning up yo body to leave no evidence/
I feel like money is the most important thing next to Miss Cita/
I feel like I should have no bald head tramp up in my beamer/
And I also feel/
That I'm also real/
Ain't no rollie like my rollie, no one live like I live/
And I, I feel that I'm one of a kind/
I feel like niggas call shot but they ain't got bitches like mine/
I feel like tonight I'm goin' ride, ride/
And if you feel you goin' die, die/
Now baby, baby, baby what the deal/
Respect Lil Weezy mind, I'm just telling you how I feel/"

This isn't the only moment where Wayne shines however, as he steps onto the booming "Tuesday & Thursday" track and goes neck and neck with Juvenile for the best verse on the song. Wayne adds a bit of sing songy style to his verse and it works perfectly.

Lil Wayne's Verse on Tuesday & Thursday
"Shit, nigga better hop, skip, and jump from the block/
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, better run from the block/
Stay there if you want and get slumped from a cop/
Knowing them white folks, you might get hung from a cop/
Look, look, look, look, look
Nigga better run/
If you got some dope or too much cake or a gun/
Looking for some freedom, find that you will get none/
And damn, I ain't even much see my P.O. last month/
I'ma play the hotel/
I missed my court date -- I ain't trying to end up in jail/
I'mma put up some mail in case I have to make bail/
I'ma still rhyme swell/
Shit, you might as well/
And stay from the block cause it be hotter then hell/
I'ma tell ya now, they don't give a damn about ya/
End up in that place and fool around and be forgotten/
They rotten like a whole apple off a forbidden tree/
On Tuesdays and Thursdays you won't find me/"

Turk doesn't really have a ton of verses here that I enjoy a whole lot, but he does show up with some solid showings on "Boys At War", "Ridin", and "Tuesday & Thursday", but as said earlier, his best moments don't come here. His improvements after this album is simply dope though regardless and he still does his job on this album. Simple as that.

The Legacy
What is the legacy of this album? Is it a true classic? I'd say yes it is, but if someone wanted to debate it and say it isn't, I could see why. Some have said it's not really a top tier Cash Money album or that it fell flat, but I don't think so. With 150,000 copies sold first week, and almost 2 million sold period since then, it definitely didn't  underperform. What this album is a statement album. A statement from artists who worked together during a heyday in hip hop where helping each other was vital. The Hot Boys were one of the greatest groups ever and this album only solidified them with staying power. Salute to Guerrilla Warfare and what we know as a Cash Money Records classic album.



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