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The Story Behind Juvenile’s ‘Back That Azz Up’


DELVAILLE Back then, we would just use a sound effect or mute out the bad part. But they came with “Back That Thang Up” and we just knew, OK, this is the one to roll out.

CHARLES Every other request, folks calling in, “I want to hear ‘Back That Thang Up,’ ‘Back That Thang Up.’” It just became, “That’s New Orleans, that’s us. And we want to hear it. I don’t care how many times you play it, play it in rotation, play it on the mix show, play it when we are doing a live gig.”

JUVENILE I went to the clubs around the city the first weekend when the album came out, and I got that real reaction every time it came on. The same reaction I’m getting right now. Women going crazy, shaking that ass everywhere. Everywhere. Old women, young women, big women, skinny women.

DELVAILLE We wanted to lead this with a video and we thought that getting him performing in New Orleans at a concert, capturing that whole bounce element was the best way to roll that record out.

CHARLES It was at a park, A.L. Davis Park uptown, Central City, New Orleans, and it was mayhem.

MANNIE FRESH Every time we would do a scene and the director would show it back, I would be like, “OK, nobody not going to believe this is New Orleans.” It’s like, “We really living like this.” After it came out, people was like, “Well, where did you all get the props from and how did you all get the dog?” I’m like, “That’s real life in New Orleans.”

“Back That Azz Up” peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, hardly reflecting its longevity or popularity. The track received renewed attention after Juvenile included it in his Tiny Desk Concert appearance last year. Artists like Drake, Beyoncé and even Lil Wayne have sampled the song that’s a staple at backyard barbecues and memorable weddings. Many, like the “Abbott Elementary” principal Ava (played by Janelle James), find it simply irresistible.



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