The success of "Slow Motion" has been bittersweet for Juvenile.
He was certainly thrilled when the single spent two weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 recently, but it was hard being unable to celebrate with his collaborator on the track. Soulja Slim, of course, was shot and killed last November.
"He made the song, not me," Juvenile said earlier this summer. "He gave me the song with the track and hook all ready. I was like, 'I'd rather it be on your album to help you out more.' 'Cause he didn't have a deal or nothin'. But him gettin' killed, it kinda messed it up."
Juvenile included "Slow Motion" on Juve the Great but was not intending to release it as a single. "We went and did 'Bounce Back' [instead], but the fanbase and DJs forced us to do it," he said.
Now that the song has exploded, Juve's hoping it will have a positive impact on rap fans. It's definitely affected his own life.
"I can feel what Puff went through, what Suge went through, the families [of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac], I can feel that better now that someone I was cool with in the game [was killed]," Juvenile said. "We gotta wake up. We gotta separate business and the streets from our music. Either you gonna rap or you gonna do the streets. You can't do both or
eventually someone gonna lose their life."
Whether he intended it to or not, "Slow Motion" has upped Juvenile's profile as of late and even garnered the rapper a record deal with Atlantic. He returned to Cash Money for Juve the Great, but it was only a one-record deal. The MC enjoyed the experience but was excited to move on.
"Working with Mannie [Fresh] on the tracks was good, 'cause the dude can make some fire beats," Juvenile said. "You can tell that's the old chemistry, that's the sound people be missin' from Cash Money."
Along with signing Juvenile, Atlantic also agreed to distribute his label, UTP Records. UTP (Up Town Period) is also the name of Juvenile's group with Skip and Wacko; they released their debut, The Beginning of the End, in May on Rap-A-Lot Records. Their single, "Nolia Clap," has slowly become a club favorite.
"It's a little dance we be doin' in the 'Bounce Back' and 'In My Life' videos," Juve said. "It's a crowd participation song."
UTP's next single, "What's Up," will include a remix with old friend Ludacris. ("I tried to get him on Cash Money back in the day, but they didn't want to make any moves," the rapper said.) The group is also talking with T.I., Lil' Flip, Petey Pablo and the Ying Yang Twins about doing remixes.
"In the South right now the beat is what's happening," Juvenile said. "But I feel like they don't have any rappers really putting large amounts of skills on them beats. Lil Jon got serious beats, to [the point that] the rapper on the beat don't need to rap. The beat go platinum by itself. So we taking that same sound but puttin' on hella good MCs."
One good MC who was once a part of UTP was Young Buck, who left to join 50 Cent's G-Unit. Juvenile said he owns the rights to at least an album's worth of Young Buck tracks, but he has no plans to release them commercially.
"If I do, it'd be underground on mixtapes," Juve said. "We was always recording. I got songs and songs and songs. Probably Young Buck at his best. I listened to some the other day and they sound real good."
Although no dates are scheduled, Juvenile said to expect a UTP tour this fall. "It's a blessing being able to perform good," he said. "That's what separates me [from other rappers]. I sell my records on the road. I don't depend on TV. I just go from city to city and sell my record like that. I learned it from Cash Money."