Growing up, New Orleans was this place in Louisiana everyone went to have a great time. Atlanta had a mixture of musical culture but New Orleans followed its own rhythm. New York introduced Hip-Hop to the world but New Orleans was a world of its own.
I went back to New Orleans recently, and I go a lot, but this time it was totally different. I really felt tears drip from my heart because I realized how much I have and always will love this city. Hurricane Katrina took more than homes, it erased so much musical history. So, I decided to share with you a piece of my life that will always be special to me no matter how much I elevate.
Even though DJ Jubilee was not the first New Orleans “Bounce” artist, he was definitely undoubtebly the most popular. The first would have to honor T.T. Tucker and DJ Jimi. But DJ Jubilee’s energetic cultural patterns would be the highlight of any party in Louisiana. We didn’t know what Go-Go meant to D.C. or what Reggae meant to Jamaica but in Louisiana, if you put on the “Jubilee All”, you saw smiles, laughter, dance, and most of all… fellowship.
DJ Jubilee and the whole bounce movement set a presence for Louisiana to have a sound of its own. Artists blazed from that city, using the same sample over the exact same drum patterns, and it worked everytime to give the city its own style and sound of music culture. When Partners N Crime released, “Pump The Party,” again… smiles, laughter, the dance, and the fellowship. This music was a joy and the feel of Louisiana was unlike any other place. The vibe became known as New Orleans “Bounce.” Truth be told, Lil’ Jon learned a lot from New Orleans and duplicated it in Atlanta with his first single, “Georgia Bounce.” Because Atlanta already had a presence on the music scene, of course his song made a greater impact… everywhere but in Louisiana. We knew our flava and our sound. You had to be from here to do it right.
Three Empires In One City
While Jubilee continued with Take-Fo Records and the whole Partners N Crime, Cheeky Black, Lil’ Elt, DJ Jimi party movement, New Orleans was developing two other empires simultaneously.
Anytime you went to the Bayou Classic or a Saints game or any major event in the area, you would hear Bounce in the clubs but on the street you heard a combination of Master P’s No Limit and this major aggressively hypnotizing sound of a fast growing Cash Money Records. Three totally different styles of music, all unique and original, all from the same city.
Master P elevated Hip-Hop Marketing
Mr. Percy Miller, to everyone in the Boot… “P”, did Hip-Hop a favor. He showed Louisiana and Hip-Hop how to market itself without conforming to radio. His total audience depended on the people and not the industry. Each cd he would promote the upcoming cds on his label. People waited on these cds like crack. “Mr. Ice Cream Man” was definitely his debut but it was the hood-gripping “Bout It Bout It” that won No Limit in every city in the state. It was the total opposite of the original New Orleans Bounce but it was still another original sound coming from that city. It became a term that Louisiana youngsters shouted to the world, ‘We bout it bout it!
There has never been a Hip-Hop Marketing Firm like No Limit Records since No Limit Records. Not one. Master P’s impact took Louisiana’s sound Nationwide. He ripped through the South within one year and instantly became a household name. Finally, Louisiana had a place in Hip-Hop America.
Cash Money pushes the bar…
The very first time I played Juvenile’s “Ha” on the radio, it created a noise in the city that had never been heard before in this area. “Dude, WHO IS THAT?” , asked a caller. I called him, “Juvey”. That’s what people in New Orleans called him. Juvenile and BG brought a sound to Louisiana that mixed hardcore lyrics with the energy of Bounce. Another unique, innovative substance out of the same city. The most interesting thing is, it didn’t take away from the other styles at all. People accepted all three sounds from the same city. It would be BG and Lil’ Wayne that would give the world a new name for jewelry… “Bling”! The Cash Money Hot Boy movement gripped America and took the heart of Louisiana to other parts of the world.
I remember hearing Wild Wayne and DJ Ro band nothing but New Orleans’ own artists all night when I visited my second home… New Orleans. Uptown Angela would always break the new artists and Q93 was the most innovative radio station in America due to the culture coming out of that city.
Recently, I drove by 9th Ward, Calliope, Uptown, Magnolia… and all the minority areas of the city. I remember seeing radios on the basketball courts as people chanted, “Talk That Stuff Now Roll With It” or “Twerk Something”. Today, no one was there. Empty windows with broken glass was still shattered in the places where people once lived and had family reunions. Homes were still falling down and cars were still covered with rubble in the places young kids used to stand and wait on the bus each morning.
As I drove down Canal past Treme into the heart of Bourbon and inner city metro New Orleans it was filled with tourists. I remember the locals with hats on every corner as they tap danced for a dollar or did a trick for a smile and soda pop. Tears just built up inside because I remember hearing the cars drive by bumping Dj Jimi “Where They At” I remember seeing girls in their cheap-hood apparel walk down Canal St. awaiting the bus to arrive as Uptown Angela played Lady Red or Cheeky Black on the Q93. I remembered my dad holding my hand as we walked and enjoyed the local artists play their hearts out on the corners.
Bishop Paul Morton
What is so interesting is while New Orleans was innovating Hip-Hop, Greater St. Stephens was adding a second and third service. A young visionary by the name of Paul Morton had a plan to take New Orleans’ Christian Community to another level as well. People everywhere was talking about this cool preacher who could sing and how the inner city really responded to his movement. I remember attending a service. I had never experienced Praise & Worship like that in my life.
The culture of the city was also in the church. People loved to smile, dance, laugh, and fellowship. One Sunday, I remember the musicians just broke out into a Zydeco Praise Break and Heaven had a Mardi Gras right in the middle of service. It was unbelievably lifting and nothing short of a supernatural worship experience. People joined that day wearing bandanas. Women came down with short skirts on… almost as if they came right out the clubs. I thought to myself, this is the type of vision the church community needs. I was so impressed. That service still has big impact on my ministry today.
As Bishop Morton was innovating the Christian Community, the Marsalis brothers were taking jazz to another level. Harry Connick Jr. and the Neville Brothers were trying to infuse the jazz sound of New Orleans with its rich heritage Zydeco. Although the Marsalis brothers relocated to New York later, they always had a presence in New Orleans. On any night they’d be rocking in one of the jazz lounge’s in the Treme or the French Quarter Districts. Hearing the horns and pianos was a blessing to the Soul. Even though I wasn’t old enough to get in I remember seeing black people in their glitter dresses and “zook” suits waiting to get inside.
So although, Katrina ripped away the people… it can never take away the memories. New Orleans and Louisiana is alive. My wife and I practically live there and it is getting stronger and stronger each month. I can only pray that the love, smiles, the dance, the laughter, and the fellowship will be memories so powerful that people from everywhere will move home.
New Orleans is ready to dance again. She is now on the dancefloor, wearing a new dress, waiting on her dance partner to take her hand and teach her some new moves.
I believe she can still get her groove back.
God Bless The Energy, The Culture, The Heritage, and the Truth about America’s Most Cultural City.
The Big Easy.