Wayne. Birdman. Mia. Juve. Mystikal. Mannie.
DJ Jubilee. Partners n Crime. Curren$y. Big Freedia.
Cash Money. No Limit. YMCMB YALL.
Hip-Hop from New Orleans helped change the world.
Since the ‘90s, rap has been Louisiana’s most lucrative cultural export. Sure, these pioneers are everywhere, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything that shows this. There are hardly any books that document the history, let alone a definitive documentary film (besides Matt Miller’s wonderful-but-unavailable film, YA HEARD ME?) or pages of internet think-pieces that explore its significance and importance. Considering New Orleans Hip-Hop is everywhere, learning about its history is way more difficult than you’d think.
Without a doubt, Hip-Hop is today’s pop music, but in New Orleans, rap is still treated like an outsider. They don’t play rap on the community radio station, and they hardly program local Hip-Hop at Jazz Fest. Times are changing, but not very quickly.
It’s especially dope that the Amistad Research Center, the nation’s oldest and largest independent archive of African American history and culture, has partnered with the NOLA Hiphop Archive to start a digital archive of New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce.
Wanna know where “Back That Azz Up” came from? How KLC made “Down 4 My N***as”? The first song Mystikal wrote? It’s all in there.
The Archive launches in Spring 2014, and at that time about 30 videotaped oral history interviews (including Mannie Fresh, Mystikal, KLC, Dee-1, DJ Quickie Mart, Nesby Phips, Nicky da B, DJ Jubilee, many more) will go up online, free of charge, to anyone interested in viewing them.
There’s a 20-day Kickstarter for the project that just launched. Donate and tell your friends to do the same.