Juvenile's strange, kinetic, undeniably infectious Southern anthem "Ha" unforgettably paired the rapper's slurred, impressionistic take on life in the projects with in-house super-producer Mannie Fresh's frenetic, bounce-inflected production. The single launched an empire, and the Cash Money clique soon found itself at the forefront of hip-hop. Tha G-Code, Juvenile's 1999 follow-up to his landmark 400 Degreez, slowed down the pace while retaining his charm, but failed to replicate its predecessor's success. Project English, meanwhile, has suffered from countless delays and persistent rumors that Juvenile plans to leave the label he helped build. While studded with the usual barrage of Cash Money Millionaires, Project English does little to refute the notion that both Juvenile and Mannie Fresh have reached an artistic dead end. Padded, busy, and forgettable, Project English feels like Juvenile's version of Ma$e's Double Upā€”another dispirited, strangely glum record from an artist who seems bored with the direction his career has taken. Even more puzzling, Project English is inexplicably short on appearances by its star: Of the album's 16 tracks, only 12 constitute new Juvenile songs. The album is padded with a Juvenile-free intro and outro, a second version of "Set It Off," and "Be Gone," an interminable track that finds the marble-mouthed Big Tymers insulting a hip-hop harlot for more than five excruciating minutes. Once again manning the boards for the entire disc, Mannie Fresh lazily plagiarizes his own beats, while Juvenile's joyless rhymes pale in comparison with his work on 400 Degreez and Tha G-Code. When Cash Money arrived, it appeared to be a dynamic alternative to the generic, assembly-line monotony of No Limit. With every substandard release like Project English, the label moves one perilous step closer to Master P-style irrelevance.

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