Breaking News
More () »

Essence Fest celebrates 50 years of Hip Hop

Hip Hop was born out of New York, but Essence Fest is in New Orleans and the city’s impact on that legacy is undeniable.

NEW ORLEANS — This year’s Essence Fest is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. A legacy of rhythm and bars and a lasting impact on the music industry.

“Fifty years of Hip Hop to me means telling our generational stories. Music tells our stories. It’s a platform for us to leverage and bring exposure to things that are happening across America,” Essence Fest attendee Kimberly Wimbish, said.

“It’s a huge thing for Hip Hop to even have grown as big as it has because of course people thought it was a fad even back 50 years ago and now a multi trillion dollar industry,” New Orleans radio DJ Wild Wayne said.

Hip Hop was born out of New York, but Essence Fest is in New Orleans and the city’s impact on that legacy is undeniable.

“It’s extremely diverse, this is like the staple. You have the Chicagos the Atlantas but there’s nothing like New Orleans. This is like a one stop shop if you ask me,” Amber Hurley, an Essence Fest attendee said.

Wild Wayne says for a while, the East and West coasts were the main focus, often beefing with each other, but there was eventually a gap when many of the big players died. He says, New Orleans filled that gap.

“Right here in New Orleans you had two of the biggest  record companies that emerged at the same time and took over,” Wild Wayne said.

Eventually, stars like Juvenile and Lil Wayne took over, along with influences like Big Freedia and bounce. But New Orleans’ influence has also come from behind the scenes.

“You have Mannie Fresh whose catalog, enormous not only  has he produced for so many artists for Cash Money and New Orleans area but producing for folks like TI and many others. You also have black and mild,” Wild Wayne said.

Some of the city’s greatness was overlooked by Essence Fest, with Juvenile having to fight for a spot in the lineup. Essence did eventually add him to the festival. But still, many want to be sure New Orleans gets the recognition it deserves.

“I think a lot of the fact that we have roots in the Africans here, Spanish here, French here, a lot of folks from the Caribbean. I think all those pieces create a unique blend  you don’t get anywhere else,” Wild Wayne said.

Click here to report a typo.

► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

Before You Leave, Check This Out