Today marks 20 years since Mannie Fresh coupled a RIDICULOUS beat with Juvenile’s vocals to make premiere booty bounce track of our generation. Where were you the first time you heard Back Dat Azz Up? I was heading to college…
I had the privilege of not only attending a historically Black university, but the honor of attending one in the south where I was first introduced to true southern Black culture. In the summer before I began my freshman year, my school had a freshman weekend where freshman got to know the school and the city. I linked up with some girls from Chicago and N’Awlins that weekend, and we walked to the store just off campus.
Now if you’re from the south or have spent any significant time in the south, you know them niggas do not play about their beats. If the bass from the system ain’t rattling windows, they don’t want it. That day we went to that store down the street from my soon-to-be university, which like many HBCUs sits right in the hood, I learned just why that bass is needed.
I had not heard Back Dat Azz Up Before that day in June of 1999. I only knew Juvenile from “Ha,” you understand? But his voice, cadence and accent were already imprinted in my memory. So when we left the store and saw a dude with a gold grill standing outside that box Chevy sitting too high with the door open and heard that patently New Orleans ass drawl asking a fine muthafucka to “back dat azz up,” I knew who it was. And I instantly knew I had to oblige as me and my new friends instinctively fulfilled Juvie’s request while the nigga whose sounds we’d highjacked to bounce to stood there cheering us on.
Then when it was over, we needed him to run that shit back and for the first time I heard the most important opening chords in negro musical history and was in love. I knew never again could I hear them chords and not stop, drop and pop this ass for the culture.
But in retrospect, even more important than the memory of having my first real taste of freedom as an incoming freshman just getting my entire ratchet ass life outside the corner store to the ass shaking anthem of the ’99 and the 2000, is the understanding that what Juvenile really gave to the culture was his unabashed display of Black New Orleans’ culture.
We stan a country ass nigga putting his city on and giving us the twerk anthem for decades to come, you understand?