Turk - Young and Thuggin'

Hailing from a city known for early roots of jazz, over-ground cemeteries, slow southern sayings like "whoadie," and grooves encompassing the bounce element of hip-hop, Turk's long-awaited solo debut, Young & Thuggin' is sure to establish him as one of hip-hop's most dynamic lyricists of our time. 20-year old Tab "Turk" Virgil first hit the music scene in 1996 when Cash Money label owners/brothers Ronald "Slim" Williams and Bryan "Baby" Williams spotted him rhyming in New Orleans' Magnolia project yards. After maintaining persistence to be "put down" and dedication to developing his rhyming skills, the New Orleans native, was asked to come to make a guest appearance on Juvenile's solo debut "Solja Rags" (1996).

After that, things developed quickly for the then- just-barely-teenaged rapper. In 1997, the Hot Boys were assembled, two of the four, B.G. & Juvenile, were already successful, each having spent several years making a name for themselves in the local New Orleans rap scene. The two newcomers, Lil Wayne, and later, Turk, rhymed in a polished style that belied their young ages and inexperience. The Hot Boys released their debut album "Get It How U Live" on Cash Money Records, and introduced the Southern region to their entertaining and varied deliveries with original tracks provided by in-house producer, Mannie Fresh.

As Cash Money Records made the transition from a profitable indie label into a national hit-making machine, (the indie label inked a distribution deal with Universal Records in 1998), Turk concentrated on honing his skills as an MC. He made numerous guest appearances on his label-mates albums including: Juvenile's quadruple-platinum selling "400 Degreez" (1998) and the platinum "Tha G-Code" (1999); Lil Wayne's platinum solo debut "Tha Block Is Hot" (1999) and his gold-certified follow-up "Lights Out" (2001); and B.G.'s albums "It's All On You, Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" (1997, 1998).

As one of the award-winning Hot Boys, Turk sold nearly 200,000 units of "Get It How U Live", solely by word-of-mouth. On their platinum sophomore effort, "Guerilla Warfare" (1999), his unique flow on such tracks as "Dirty World" and "I Need A Hot Girl" easily caught the attention of heads everywhere and had fans wondering when Turk's solo joint would drop. In the interim of recording "Young & Thuggin'", Turk encountered personal challenges, and missed several concert appearances fueling rumors and speculation. "For a minute I haven't been seen," he explains. "I had some personal problems I had to deal with and the police got me mixed up in somethin' I didn't do, but I got it taken care of."

Turk young and thuggin

Like his popular Cash Money label-mates, Turk isn't one of those superficial studio-gangstas penning fables and spitting tales for the sake of making records. When Turk rhymes about serving time, living in the projects, a fatherless home, kickin' it with the homies, drinkin', flossin', probation, welfare, etc., he's lived it. "Growing up in the projects without a daddy was hard. [It was] just my mama, my two lil brothers and me living off welfare. It kept a meal," reminisces the young rapper, "but that was about it. I had to go to the Goodwill to get clothes somebody already wore. It was hard," Turk continues. "But I just prayed and asked the Lord to take me outta this hell."

His flow glides over Mannie Fresh beats uninterrupted on up-tempo beats, like his bangin' new single "It's In Me" and "Yes We Do" (featuring B.G.). He maintains his mellifluous delivery on mellow grooves such as "At The Same Time" and "Soldierette." Young & Thuggin' contains tracks for everyone - the ladies, the ballers, the stunnas and the reality-checkers. Since street credibility is a viable element for many fans, Turk's personal life breathes credence and validity into his rhymes. Fans and "thugs" alike can feel his pain, understand his philosophies, comprehend his actions and relate to the experiences displayed throughout Turk's previous guest appearances and on his solo debut. In essence, Young & Thuggin', complete with songs like "Untamed Guerilla," "What Would You Do" and "Project" young Turk's personal journey, displaying his story-telling ability about growing up in the streets of New Orleans.

Success hasn't changed Turk. He's still quiet, yet observant. He's focused, yet determined and continues to make music for the average brother or sister. He genuinely cares about what he does and the future can only get brighter for this lyrical street artist. Young & Thuggin' proves to be a N'awlins platter of rap delicacies served to skeptics and fans alike.

Universal Music Group (2001)

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