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‘Total Disrespect’: Juvenile Fans Race to His Defense After He Was Excluded from Essence Festival’s 50th Anniversary Hip-Hop Tribute In His Hometown of New Orleans

Rapper Juvenile is having a hard time figuring out how and why he was excluded from a 50th-anniversary hip-hop tribute in his own hometown.

On June 1, the New Orleans native caught wind of the concert lineup for this year’s Essence Music Festival, but his name was not included in the festivities.

Rapper Juvenile. (Photo: @juviethegreat screenshot / Instagram

The three-day lineup will feature performances from artists such as Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, KRS-One, Slick Rick, Jermaine Dupri, Ice Cube, Ice-T, T.I., Ludacris, Salt-N-Pepa, Big Boi, Remy Ma, Mia X and many, many more from June 30 to July 2.

Juvenile — whose legal name is Terius Gray — expressed his disapproval in a series of tweets on June 1. After shaming the music festival, he promoted his upcoming show at Donna Fest with Mannie Fresh and the Rebirth Brass Band.

“How is essence doing 50 years of hip hop in New Orleans without me??? F that,” he wrote before shamelessly plugging the concert.

“July 2nd me w my live band +Mannie Fresh +Rebirth & more & the best food vendors new orleans has to offer i should know im from here! Our [ticket emojis] are just $25!”

The tweet has now been pinned at the top of his Twitter page, and one Juvie fan responded, “Chileeee we was asking the same thing. They don’t read the room.”

Another tweeted, “They have a segment called ‘the south has something to say’ with all Atl rappers and the “Back That Azz Up” rapper replied, “They did not understand the assignment.”

In a follow-up tweet, Juvenile called out the music festival for not inviting any artists from the legendary Cash Money Records era.

“If you are honoring the hip hop genre in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans you can’t not have me & all of Cash Money!! Lil Wayne, Mannie Fresh, Bird, BG, Turk, UNLV even DJ Jimi where they @ #BlingBling #400Degreez #NewOrleans #LilWeezyana #Magnolia #wtf #downbad.”

Fans seemed to agree with the “Rodeo” artist, noting that Juvenile’s impact and influence should have been represented.

“Total disrespect,” wrote one fan. “@essencefest make this right before it’s too late! Juvenile has a whole set that will make everyone feel at home In the N.O. and feel the “Essence”. Don’t do this, get Juve and Mannie Fresh!”

“You are ICONIC. You should be there,” added another.

“The Essence fest is in New Orleans so Lousiana artists should be there,” echoed a third fan. “But LET’S BE CLEAR, no matter what festival or where it is held, if you are talking about 50 years of Hip-Hop, JUVIE should be there!!”

Juvie went on doting about his influence and receiving an honor from the state House of Representatives in the 2023 state of Louisiana legislative session. He was honored for being a “trailblazer of the Southern style of hip hop and being a now-dominant rap style to national airwaves with multiple hits.”

In another tweet, he wrote, “Senator Jackson came up to me in the Louisiana Senate Chambers today and said she used to dance to my music before she got saved saved.”

Juvenile started as a signee of Cash Money Records in the ’90s. He came up in that era alongside Lil Wayne, Birdman, and others. He’s released a number of songs that fans view as classics, like “Slow Motion,” “Bounce Back,” “Set It Off,” his “Ha” anthem, and more.

Juvie is a part of the group that paved the way for fellow New Orleans artists such as Kevin Gates, Curren$y, and Jay Electronica. The city birthed separate yet iconic labels such as Young Money Records and Young Money Entertainment.

He was the first artist from the label to earn platinum certification from the RIAA with his 1998 album “400 Degreez.” It sold more than four million records in the U.S. and spawned other hits like “Ha.” His highest charting albums on the Billboard 200 chart are 2006’s “Reality Check,” and 2001’s “Project English,” respectively at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots.

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