Photo Via NPR Tiny Desk
Rappers sure know how to uplift a nation in distress and in this case, Juvenile made his long-anticipated appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk and delivered a historic encore taking it back to the 99 and the 2000’s.
On Friday, New Orleans-based music artist Terius ‘Juvenile’ Gray brought an amazing team of top entertainers. His long-promised performance at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk show was an immediate blast. The popular radio series has featured artists like Justin Beiber, Harry Styles, and Lizzo in the past. After an intense Twitter struggle to convince Juvenile to attend, the 48-year-old relented in April.
Lasting an unusual 23-minutes, the ‘T.C. Soldier’ performed live renditions of top ten songs from his time with Cash Money Records. Included in the hip-hop set were such hits as “Set It Off”, “Slow Motion”, “Back That Azz Up”, and “Rodeo”. Juvenile also played “I Need a Hot Girl” despite appearing only in the music video during the initial release. The artist was visibly excited through and through, and so were the thousands of fans who witnessed the surprise spectacle live.
The team Juvenile put together for the concert included the Grammy-award winning musician Jon Batiste, who flew in from London to join the performance. Other New Orleans natives Trombone Shorty and Alvin Ford also appeared on stage. But the biggest guest of all was the big guy Mannie Fresh himself. The ‘Hot Boys’ star and his studio Cash Money Records originally produced all of the ‘90s rap hits that Juvenile revisited Friday.
In a show highlight, Juvenile invited the band to perform a new orchestral version of “Back That Azz Up”, also known as “Back That Thang Up”. The single, his most successful from the decade, started with Juvenile instructing all the women present to get their stretches in to ensure smooth movements.
Juvenile also struck a more serious note during his performance of “I Need a Hot Girl”. “Y’all don’t know, that’s my favorite part of the song right there,” he said. “I ain’t even on the song, but I am in the video.” Referring to the strained relations with former fellow rapper Turk, Juvenile said: “I love that part of the song so much, but I like the part where Turk comes on. And I know Turk don’t like me right now, he really wanna punch me in the face – that is still my li’l bro. But listen, that part of the song had to be the best part of the song, when he come in.”
The performance came after a public ‘debate’ on Twitter. When someone suggested in April that Juvenile consider a Tiny Desk show, the latter replied: “Wtf is a tiny desk 😂and no 😂😂.”
However, the hip hop icon offered a compromise on the very next day: “Ok ok 😂😂 All Things Considered, 10k retweets and I will RECONSIDER doing @NPR Tiny Desk while drinking an ice cold #JuvieJuice.”
Fans swarmed in to quickly reach that threshold. The saga was over and Juvenile gave in: “The People Have Spoken!!!! 10k!! 🙌🙌🙌 and @NPR locked it in 🤝.
I appreciate the luv and I’m gonna put on a one of a kind show for y’all on #TinyDesk”
The ‘one of a kind show’ was adored by fans like no other Tiny Desk performance. Reactions included statements like:-
“This the history they won’t put in books. Ima tell my kids this was Beethoven” – T. Matthews @Twitter
Back Dat A** Up on the TinyDesk is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard in my life and y’all are WELCOME https://twitter.com/Snow_Blacck/status/1674840095726206986?s=20
Referring to the recent Supreme Court decisions banning affirmative action, blocking student debt relief, and restricting LGBTQ rights, one user said: “Not today SCOTUS. You don’t get to take joy from me, not on Juvenile Tiny Desk day.”
Juvenile himself knew his work had paid off. Never one to shy away, he asked at one point during the half-hour performance:-
“Who ever brought two Grammy winners to Tiny Desk? Give me love.”