NEW ORLEANS (NOLA WEEKEND) - New Orleans rapper Juvenile recently went viral with his NPR Tiny Desk performance. Now he’s hoping his new project will be a hit on store shelves. The local music legend plans to launch a new chip line.
Known for his infectious rap cadence and popular catchphrases, Juvenile has left a scorching imprint on hip-hop music and New Orleans culture.
Now, 25 years after his iconic album, “400 Degreez,” the rapper gives a sneak peek at his new project: a snack called 400 Degrees CheeWees.
“It was something that resonated with me since as a kid, and didn’t realize that I was calling every other brand CheeWees, also. So, it’s something that I grew up eating and enjoying,” Juvenile said.
Juvie’s new snack is a collab with another New Orleans icon in the food world, Elmer’s, the snack brand made famous for inventing the original cheese curl.
“I don’t want to give too much away. It’s kind of part of the surprise, but I will tell you, you will need some water possibly to drink with this flavor,” said Ben Elmer, general manager of Elmer’s CheeWees. “Going back to the 400 Degreez album, it being a hot flavor; it just goes hand in hand.”
With this release, the rap star says he’s aiming for another major hit, this time on store shelves.
“Just watching other cats do their thing with their products, like E-40 doing his thing, like Master P and Snoop, doing his thing,” Juvenile said. “You know, that kind of like gives me that extra push to want to go out there and brand myself in the same way.”
Reaching out to the next generation of tastemakers, Juvenile gave students at the Roots of Music in Treme the first taste test.
“They wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be, but they did have a little bang to them,” said Derrick Tabb, founder of the Roots of Music program.
Tabb says he jumped at the chance to expose these young musicians to the local rap legend.
“Juvie is somebody that their parents talk about, somebody who they’ve just seen because everybody’s seen the tiny desk. So it makes it that much more important to be here,” Tabb said. “And I try to emphasize being here because we have so much crime going on in the streets. We have so much going on. And these kids can be anywhere they want to be, but they choose to be here.”
A living example of building a legacy with his cultural impact on music and beyond.
“Being in that ‘95 to 2000 era, being a part of that, I think kind of like grew this new generation of artists that we have here,” Juvenile said. “And I think by them making songs that really like bring my music back up. You know a lot of cats are sampling my songs, sampling Mannie Fresh beats, and they reliving our days again.”
And with more than two decades in the business, Juvenile says he’s not stopping anytime soon.
Representatives with Elmer’s say fans can look out for this new 400 Degree flavor hitting store shelves possibly later this year.
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