The Essence Festival of Culture is celebrating 50 years of hip-hop, and with the event being in New Orleans, it was only right to share the impact those rappers from the city had on music. In June 2023, Essence came to an agreement to bring in legendary rapper Juvenile to join the festival.
Juvenile came onto the rap scene in the early 1990s with bounce music and being a part of classic songs that are still being played in the club today, such as “Slow Motion” and “Back That A– Up.”
Juvenile spoke at the Essence Festival about his impact on hip-hop and his experience performing for NPR’s Tiny Desk.
What impact did the South have on hip-hop, particularly in New Orleans?
I think it had a great impact. A lot of the songs that artists are making right now have some Southern DNA in their music. I love it. I like when new artists sample my music, and I think we have a great influence on a lot of it.
How was your experience performing for Tiny Desk?
It was crazy. My guy Travis set it up, and it was his idea for me to do it. The fan base was at my throat about it, and it was one of those situations where I felt like if I didn’t do it, it was going to make or break me. When I got there, the energy and the reaction from people in the building, and to have my guys come on stage with me was crazy. Jon Batiste flew in from France just to do it and flew back, so to put that together, it was kind of crazy.