DJ Jubilee

Perhaps the Crescent City’s best kept music secret, Jubilee (Jerome Temple) exploded onto the local arena with his 1993 debut hit single “Do the Jubilee All.” Since then, he’s recorded four astounding CDs, the most recent being Get Ready, Ready!, which have earned him the regal title “The King of Bounce.” Master of call-and-response, hip-shaking dance music, Jubilee’s “Back That Thang Up” was appropriated by New Orleans rapper Juvenile and turned it into a Top Ten single. Recently, Master P’s 504 Boyz hit the charts with “Wobble, Wobble,” a lyric lifted from a Jubilee song. With a new CD in the works, Jubilee hopes he’s the next New Orleans artist to bounce into the charts. OffBeat encountered Jubilee at Hooter’s in the French Quarter, where he was enjoying a plate of shrimp creole and discussing a variety of topics.

 

I understand you’ve got something new coming out soon.

I’m working on a maxi-single with four songs on it and we’re shooting to get it out sometime in September. It’ll consist of one or two dance songs, another song representing New Orleans, and another about the St. Thomas Projects. I just want to put New Orleans on the map and let the rest of nation know about some of the dances we do here. Then we’re gonna follow with a full CD, King of Bounce, ready for October or November. That will have a lot of dances on it. Of course it’s on Take Fo’ Records. I’m not sure of the details, but the company has got a new deal with a top of the line distribution company. With this CD, it’s kind of like starting all over again because I had a big contract but it didn’t work out.

What happened?

Tommy Boy was interested in doing a project. They said they loved what I was doing. They sent a representative down to see me when I performed at the Teen Summit Conference in the Superdome [1998] and we did a deal. After the conference they didn’t contact us any more. We called them and asked them what the situation was, but they wouldn’t answer our calls or our letters. Finally, after a year, they’d breached the contract and I was free.

You produce yourself?

I’ve done my music myself all my life. I know what I want in my music, how music should be played, how it should sound.

What studio do you use?

A place called Small World Studio. The studio just has the basics but it gets good quality sounds. It’s not a big major studio, it just has 16 tracks. In due time they’ll expand the board to 32 or 48 tracks. It’s located on Banks and Tulane Avenue.

How long does it take to put a CD together?

At least a year. I can’t just push stuff out there because I want to be creative and come up with my own ideas. I get my ideas from the community and what’s going on outside—from second lines and what people say on the street.

Did Take Fo’ take a hit when Big Easy Distribution declared bankruptcy last year?

I don’t know exactly what the situation was. Maybe I was the only one making money for them because they pushed my records hard. When they decided to shut the company down it threw us into shock and turmoil. We had to go through the legal process of getting our material and our money back from them. Take Fo’ was really producing for them, too—we had Willie Puckett, Katey Red, Jubilee, the Shake Em Up Girls.

You produce also?

I produced the Bounce Squad’s DJ Jubilee Presents the Bounce Squad. Those are my dancers. Man, those guys are so good we can go on stage without a routine and really keep the show alive.

What are the roots of bounce?

The Godfather of Bounce is T.T. Tucker. He’s the originator. He’s the first person that got on the mic, him and Trigger Man would play ‘em all night. Two drag rap show boys. He’d just talk trash behind the microphone and sometimes not make any sense. He’d talk about an outfit, how you fix your hair. Somehow New Orleans started catching on to it. Then there was DJ Jimi, he was the first one to take it nationwide. Then there was Everlasting Hitman, then here come Pimp Daddy, and then came me, DJ Jubilee.

How did you come up with the name DJ Jubilee?

My brother gave me the name when I was eight or nine. The Saints used to have a football player named Jubilee Dunbar. When I was young I’d catch footballs, dive for footballs, catch ‘em behind by back just like he did. I got so many scars diving for footballs in the streets you wouldn’t believe it. My brother kept saying, “Jubilee, Jubilee,” so I just kept the name.

You grew up in the St. Thomas projects.

I spent the first 21 years of my life there. I’ve lived on the West Bank for 13 years, but I’ve been back every day since I’ve been gone. It’s like my job is to be there. I do all kind of things at the St. Thomas. I coach Little League football and I’m a member of Black Men United for Change. I still deejay block parties at the St. Thomas because that’s where I got my start.

Do you play an instrument?

Never played an instrument but by deejaying for many so years, I know a lot about tone and sound. That’s an advantage I have over most rappers in New Orleans. They can write words but they have to luck up on a beat. I know what I want in my music.

In the past couple of years you’ve had a couple of songs covered, or your ideas have been “borrowed” by other artists who have made a lot of money on your creativity. How do you feel about that?

[laughs] A lot of people now are making money on what I created, like “Back That Thang Up” for Juvenile and “Wobble Wobble” by Master P’s 504 Boyz.

Where did the ideas for those songs come from?

“Back That Thang Up” came right out of the St. Thomas. I was deejaying one night and this girl was backing her thing up at me. I just started telling everybody to “back that thing up.” I just added that part to the song I was writing. By that being a hot dance at the time, I made “Back That Thang Up” the title.

The term “Wobble Wobble” came from a homosexual. He was telling me “Jubilee, they can’t handle me ’cause I be wobblin’.” But wobblin’ is the way a girl shakes her behind in a club. They make their behind go wiggle, wiggle and shake, shake, just like Jell-O jiggles. So I started telling the girls “Make it wobble.” During the time with Tommy Boy, I was in the process of creating that song. I made the hot part of the song “Jiggy” and not “Wobble Wobble.” If I’d have made “Wobble Wobble” the hot part of the song, I’d have titled it “Wobble Wobble,” and it would have taken off differently. That’s where Master P got it.

Do you know Master P?

I’ve met P many times. We bumped heads the last three years in the Superdome. We chit-chat, we’ve talked about doing some things together. I’ve put it on his mind that there’s a brother right here that can do some things too. I don’t have any animosity towards nobody, it’s all good. I know as long as I keep creating and making myself better and better, my day is gonna come.

Tell us a little about the late Bobby Marchan.

I knew Bobby from when he was doing Gong Shows in the neighborhood. They called him “Mister Sister” and his Gong Shows were number one. Bobby took my music and pushed it so hard that when I dropped a song it would stay hot for a whole year. I’m still doing shows off “Get Ready, Ready” that he pushed in 1997. I just left San Antonio and it’s the Number One record there. My music is longevity music. As long as I keep it clean, keep people dancing, keep people chanting and responding, I’ll be around here for a long time. Bobby did a lot for New Orleans. Every bounce artist that went through Bobby made money and became something. Bobby booked shows, hooked artists up on shows, got you on the radio—Bobby did it all. Bobby was the greatest empowerer of black artists New Orleans ever had. I don’t think anyone will ever replace him because he was a hustler and known all over.

With the fall coming you’re going to be pretty busy.

Oh, big schedule, big schedule. When the record comes out I hope it blows up. I’m gonna ride that wave until I can’t ride it no more. But first of all, school is starting up and I teach special education at West Jefferson High. I’ve got about 25 kids and I’m also a teacher’s assistant. Then I coach recreation—Little League football and we’ll be doing two-a-day practices. I just finished coaching girls’ high school summer league basketball, but in October we start the regular season. I’m still on the road most weekends all over the South, and I deejay block parties and high school dances. I’m a school bus attendant, too, so I get up pretty early in the mornings.

You coached football last year, right?

I coached the defense at my alumni, Walter L. Cohen High. We had our first winning season in 28 years. We went six and four, and went to the state playoffs. We lost to Woodlawn in Baton Rouge on a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game.

What do your students think about your bounce career?

Oh man, they love it. It’s amazing how they know your work and they recognize your music. They go to the malls and buy my CDs. They can’t understand how I can teach school, coach, and still have time to rap. It’s a good lesson for kids to learn that nothing comes easy, you’ve got to work hard to get the things you want in life.

Another project just materialized, too, I understand.

It’s a big break. I was recently approached by Dick Clark Productions. I’m working close with Dick Clark’s daughter. She saw the story about me in the New York Times and said she thought my life story might make a good movie or a miniseries. I signed a contract and she’s in the process of shopping the idea around. Something like that would be a positive step for my career.

You’ve managed to keep a positive image while other rappers and hip-hop artists have portrayed themselves as thugs and gangsters.

I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t like negative things or want negative people around me. I want to live a happy life and change people’s lives that want their lives changed for the positive. Believe me, kids don’t need a negative message because right now there’s so much negativity out there that out of 100 kids we lose 75. That hurts and that means there’s not as many positive people out there for younger kids to look up to. I’m talking about people that go to college and get a good-paying job. Instead, kids get into that negative stuff—drop out of high school, run the street selling dope, smoke marijuana, act like gangsters. Once those kids are locked in that system, they don’t get out until their ass is dead or they go to prison. That hurts me because I can’t do a damn thing. I might save one kid but I lose 20—that means you don’t gain anything. I see the problems and I think the rest of America sees it, but they don’t care about them. But if we don’t do something now, we’re going to lose a lot of kids. Man, I’ve seen it and I experienced it so I know. I get pissed off at this new attitude, “I live for today.” Man, you got to think about the future—what are you gonna do five, ten years from now? You got to set goals and dreams for yourself—those are the straight damn facts.

You’re a college grad too?

Grambling State University—I graduated in 1991. I had a 2.8 average and I played intramural sports. I was the first one in my family to graduate college and I’ve been able to convince ten other brothers [from the St. Thomas] to attend Grambling. I also joined a fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi—that was a great experience. Attending college is the best way to be successful.

I know somebody that went to college with you and he called you “Mr. Instant Party.”

Oh yeah. When I was at Grambling I used to mix—I became the hottest DJ at Grambling. They had a community station where I came on for an hour Friday and Saturday nights. I had Shreveport to Monroe sewed up. Whenever there was a big dance they called me because I drew a crowd. One Saturday, Grambling played against Alcorn in football at Independence Stadium [Shreveport]. At the after-party, I met Shaq [O'Neil]. I was throwing down. He came up to me when I was tearin’ it down and he said “Man, you’re doin’ the job.”

Has local radio been receptive to your records?

Yeah, but there’s been some changes. Certain radio stations are trying to juice local companies to get their records on the radio. And they want thousands. Back in the days they wanted our business so they played our records. Now the stations think we need their business. But now B-97 is playing black music so people are gonna start switching stations.

You’ve got a sizable white audience, right?

Man, I’m one of the only rappers in New Orleans that works at white high schools. The average New Orleans rapper sells 10,000 records—I sell 40,000 just in this city alone. My records are still selling and I haven’t had a new record out since 1998.

Is there racism in New Orleans?

Heavy, heavy. After a while you’d think, “Why not let bygones be bygones,” But every once in awhile you get someone who says “Fuck it—I want to get known and I want the attention” and they get away with it. They go out and create hatred. Then there’s people you work with that constantly monitor you and try to get rid of you because of who you are and what you do. There’s still a black and white hatred and for no reason. If both races started coming together instead of pulling apart, this would be a much better community and a better country to live in.

What’s the best show you’ve ever seen in your life?

The Run DMC Raisin’ Hell tour in ’86 with them, L.L. Cool J, Beastie Boys, Peter Piper, One Love and Whodini at Lakefront Arena. Man, what a show! It was a laser show and they had a big radio on stage with people crawling out of it. You couldn’t beat it. The first show sold out so fast they booked two shows the next day.

Is bounce a style of music where you can only have a career that lasts so long? I guess what I mean is, can you be doing this at 45?

No, everything ends eventually. I just want to get to the point where I can buy a nice house and a nice car. If it happens for me, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. But if it doesn’t, I’m not gonna go crazy, I’ve got other things to fall back on. Eventually I’d like to coach high school football until they have to drag me off the field.