By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Once again, the underdogTemple teaches high school special education, no lessgot spanked. Jurors: The songs barely resembled each other, and the crux of Temple's argumentthat Juvenile's replacement of "Ass" with "Azz" still constituted infringementdidn't jibe with the informal precedent set when Tag Team got away with rewriting 95 South's "Whoot (There It Is)" with a "Whoomp." Juvenile, saddened that his psychic props were ignored in what he read as a pathetic money-grab, sighed: "I didn't want it to come to this."
With all due respect, Jubilee's case was a weak one from the start. While Juvenile and Cash Money producer Mannie Fresh please nerds with their future-primitive, rinky-dink plinks, Jubilee and his Take Fo' superstars are all about torque-outs, stabs, and piped-in crowd noise. Jubilee's original "Back That Ass Up" avoids universal-ish ambitions altogether, opting instead for scratched-open doubles of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and a series of site-specific, call-and-response directives: "Walk the dog! . . . Ride that bike! Motorbike boy, pop that wheelie!" There's a relentless, free-for-all attitude to the beats rather than the rhymes; it's the cute audacity of someone jacking something as obvious as the Jacksons or Betty Wright's "Clean-Up Woman" rather than gassing on about "new shit." The beats lead, pivot, and swerve; Juvenile could not have stolen it, because his songs aren't nearly as fun.
Jubilee and Choppa expand on all this on their latest collection, P-Popper/Club Hopper. Unlike St. Thomas or Take Fo's Party at the Luau compilation (wherein Jubilee finds bounce in the theme to Super Mario Brothers) there's only one notable riff-off. For the title cut, Choppa interpolates the sass 'n' preen out of Destiny's Child's "Survivor" and turns womanism into a wobbly-assed freak anthem. Jubilee's "Looking for a Hot Girl" sounds like one long scratch windup, but what it lacks in beginning or end it makes up for with plenty of tail.
Blak Iyce and Take Fo' stud Choppa salute their city over an awesome digi-bassline on "The N.O." "You ever found a better city? That's an N-to-the-O!" they beam, even finding the heart to include Juvenile in their list of civic landmarks. Tec 9, Big Al, and Lil Tee's "Shake That Thang" is another odd great, all dusted horn blares and kiddy Casio tickles. Elsewhere, a common lust allows Willie Puckett's mega-macho "She Don't Want It in Her Booty" and Katey Red and Big Freda's trannie-happy "Stupid" (sample lyric: "You are too stupid for calling us guys/You know you tried it, so stop tellin' them lies") to coexist.
Through it all, Jubilee seems to wear the same friendly smile he has in all his press photos: "Do the yaaaaarrrrgghh" he yawps on the directive-heavy "Get Ready, Ready!" He may have to fire up the jurisprudence once again if Juvenile catches sniff of the latest Take Fo' dances on P-Popper"Monkey on a stick!"but until then, being the superhero for New Orleans's third-ranking rap label ain't a bad gig.