Published on June 10th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
New Orleans Legend, Ricky B, Celebrates 25-Year Anniversary of “Shake Fa Ya Hood!”
25-years ago, New Orleans rapper, Ricky B, put out a cassette tape titled, “B For Bounce,” which featured, “Shake fa ya Hood,” a song that still keeps him busy today!
Ricky B has been putting on for New Orleans, Louisiana since 1994. He dropped his first cassette, “B For Bounce,” that year, which featured what would end up being his signature hit, “Shake fa ya Hood!” Far from a one-hit wonder, as, B has dropped several local classics, “Shake fa ya Hood,” just resonates with a city known for music and party scene. “Shake fa ya Hood,” is actually a sample of, The Staples Singers, “I’ll Take You There,” but in typical, New Orleans fashion, bass and a bounce hook were mixed in and it became an instant classic throughout the city. Fast forward 25-years and there aren’t too many from Louisiana who couldn’t rap the lyrics to the song word for word. Not very many artists enjoy the luxury of one song literally taking them all over the world and still being able to perform it 2 ½ decades later in front of sold out audiences. In 1994 when, Ricky B released, “Shake fa ya Hood,” New Orleans was the murder capital of the world and although the song reflects the violence of the city, it has a strange way of making you dance, nod your head and tap your feet. Good New Orleans bounce music has a strange way of having that affect on people. “Shake fa ya Hood,” is the type of song that makes you feel like you have been to New Orleans even if you have never visited the city once.
I caught up with the New Orleans legend, Ricky B, who has finally grasps the impact the song had on the city and his career; talks about how New Orleans artists let outsiders come in and steal bounce music.
I came up on your music, that 1994-1995 mark I was just hitting high school, so it’s an honor to be talking to you, bruh.
Ricky B: You already know, man. Still out here. Celebrating 25-years of that hit, man.
After 25-years, I can still go on Twitter and see so many people talking about, they are in a Ricky B “Shake fa ya Hood” kind of mood. How does that make you feel to know that that song still resonates 25-years later?
Ricky B: It’s an honor, man. I just look at the game today where you got a lot of people putting 4 and 5 albums out before they even get recognized for their talents. I look at, 25-years ago, I made one record and I have released projects in between, but that record was still the main song that everybody would look for. So, I released it on every album since then. And to know that that one record carried my whole career for a 25-year span… that’s big, man. Some records you don’t even remember 25-years later. That, “Shake fa ya Hood,” the only thing different now is the project is down. Everything is still the same. It’s an honor to still be recognized from that song.
I feel like there isn’t a whole lot of timeless music out there now. A lot of people make hits, but once the radio finish spinning it, it disappears. When that beat comes on for, “Shake fa ya Hood,” people can rap it word for word still. Do you feel like there is a lack of timeless music now?
Ricky B: Absolutely! I look at some of these twerk records that’s being made, we know 25-years from now people not going to be twerking. You look at 25-years of, “Shake fa ya Hood,” some of these people are grandparents now. Some of them are telling their kids about this record and they look at it and brining it back. You got so many remixes out there being made by younger artists. I go do these concerts and these younger artists hear it and they quick to run up to me, “Yo, my momma told me about you way back in the day.” Sometimes I kind of feel like it’s one of those, Frankie Beverly things. Anytime you hear that record you know that’s that feel good-timeless music. No matter what stage of life you’re in, that song always going to have some meaning to a lot of people. They gonna remember those times, ya know. I’m good with it, man. The timeless music is what works for me. I like what’s in because I got a teenager, but that timeless music keeps me going and brings me back to life, man.
Man, I’m not about to sit here for one second and pretend “Shake fa ya Hood,” was your only hit because just like people rushed the dance floor for that song, “Who’s Got that Fire,” made people light up and smoke, “Ya’ll Holla” is a second line and Mardi Gras classic and “Buck Em Up” made everyone want to fight and go wild. All of your songs meaning came through clear.
Ricky B: Absolutely! If you listen to, “Buck Em Up,” it was a real song and if actually listen to the record, it’s telling you what goes on in the club. That’s what goes on in the club. Everything that goes on in the club you can hear it in that song and if you listen, it will tell you the reason why it goes on. People bucking people up… nobody goes to a club for all of that, but when you in a club it’s like anything goes. So, if you listen to the record before you go to the club, it already puts you on your P’s and Q’s. But if you in the club and you hearing it for the first time, you might be one of those guys who get sneak or get snuck (laughing). It was a joint, man. We gon keep you calm, we gon buck you up and then we gonna play, “Ya’ll Holla” and let you have some fun.
Those songs… I appreciate it so much, man. I appreciate the people who embrace those songs. I tell people, I appreciate the whole, Ricky B love, I just feel like ya’ll became a part of me so much and I became a part of so many people, that I just feel like sometimes, just be on a first name basis. Just call me, Ricky, ya know. Because it’s like, I’ve been to Virginia, Chicago, California, all over Georgia, New York Mississippi of course and all over Houston and Dallas with this record and it just opened up so many opportunities for me for me to become more than just, Ricky B the artist. It created the brand. I became known as that guy to make that influential music, that timeless music, but also that club music and that party music. I’m just appreciative, man and I thank ya’ll for even recognizing me.
I like your music because, although it was a bounce music overtone, you had lyrical content as well and that was rare back in the 90’s.
Ricky B: Right. Cause I was in the studio. This is what a lot of people need to understand about, “Shake fa ya Hood.” I was actually in the studio and I recorded about 7-songs. The producer came in and said, “Man, I got one track, I don’t know if you want to do something with it or you have something you want to put on it. I know you’re not into bounce, but you just tell me what you think about it.” And he put it on, and I was always a fan of, The Staple Singers, not because of me, but because of my family. My grandmother and my momma played it, so I was like, “Man, that’s The Staple Singers.” I already had, “Shake fa ya Hood” written down for a record and had the lyrics. When he put it on, I listened to it and I just harmonized it with the record. I said, “You know what, I can do this. There is meaning to the song.” I did it. They had this guy from New Orleans, I don’t know his name, but I wish I could find him, man because he wrote down… the title behind his article was, “The meaning behind the lyrics of, “Shake fa ya Hood!” He broke down every lyric, man. I’m gonna find it and I’m gonna text it to you. He broke down every lyric and what it actually meant for the city. I thought that was so clever. I didn’t know that that record was that impactful. It was just a filler record for the project that we were putting together and that ended up being the main song. It was unplanned, but I couldn’t ask for a better story because I was really on that street stuff, ya know. If you listen to the lyrics to “Shake fa ya Hood,” it was really our reality of what was happening in the projects all over the city.
You always represented where you were from and your projects. Was the mindset, if you were going to be popular and out there you had to let people know where you were from?
Ricky B: It was important to me because all we knew about was Uptown. They were spreading that music and doing they thang. So, when people out of state heard anything about New Orleans music, it was always, Uptown-Uptown-Uptown! So, when I came, I knew a lot of people Uptown, but I knew a lot of people in all of these Wards and all of these projects. So, I just felt like, I need to take it around the city. If I was going to talk about the city, that mean when people outside of the city hear this record, they going to feel like, “Okay, it’s more than just the 3rd Ward. It’s more than just the Magnolia.” The city is one big unit, man, but we just broke it down into areas. It was important for me to let everybody know that this is New Orleans. Anywhere you go in New Orleans you going to face this. And then when you come with a record like, “City Streets,” it was just me giving them a GPS before GPS was even heard of. It’s always important to me to tell the grimy side of the city, but also to let people know, we a city like any other city. We’re great, we got a lot of good things going on, but if you go to these areas, this is what you deal with; you know what I mean. I thought that was important.
You performed with a band out in Chicago recently. You have actually performed with a couple of bands. I’m sure that’s a difference experience, but one I’m sure you enjoyed.
Ricky B: Man, when you in this industry, it’s more than just talent. You go to these cities and you do concerts on your own and these people in the audience, when you come off stage they walk up to you and want to talk to you and network with you, you have to have that personality, man. I’m not one of the young cats that’s stuck on myself that, soon as I get off stage I need to get out of the building, or I need to go find the girls. No, I need to mingle, man because I’m trying to conduct business. I’m trying to come back here. When I did that show in Chicago, those guys came to the store where we were at and told us they would come to the show that night. We talked so much, and I ended up going back to Chicago for another show. And they said, “Man, this is perfect timing because we got another record, we want to record with you.” We actually recorded two records. And I went in, rocked my vocals, they put everything together and we did a little mini tour together. Since then… the whole band thing, I love it because it’s real implementation. It’s not a track. I love the track, but that implementation gives you that free feel when you’re on stage. You could play around how you want and that’s what I get with them.
At the time when you first came out, New Orleans had a lot of talent out there. A ton of hot artists, but you never collaborated with any of them. Why was that? And who would you like to have done a joint with or would like to do a joint with?
Ricky B: I tried, man. I tried. I’ve always tried to collaborate with every artist in the city. I’ve actually had things planned for years. Maybe some of those guys were in situations. I don’t know the contractual issues or obligations that they were bound by, but I was never stuck in a contract. I was always free willing on my own. So, when I used to go at them, I knew it wasn’t them that could make that decision. I knew I had to talk to their people, so a lot of those things just didn’t happen. But I’ve always wanted to network and collab with, Partners-N-Crime. Me and Lil Ya (UNLV) did collab on a record and it’s called, “Giant Life.” I just never release it, because I was releasing my next album. I didn’t want to cross-promoter, but that’s a record I have in the archive. I wanted to collab with, Cheeky Blakk. We were going to do an album called, ‘Blakker Than Me.” I wanted to collab with, Big Freedia, it was going to be called, “Beauty and the Beast!” It was a lot of things that I wanted to do, but some of these people are just caught in situations where decisions have to be made based on their brand and their relationships or whatever. So, I just kind of relied on, we’re in New Orleans, we should be able to collab with who we want, but I don’t know, man. I still look forward to working with some of em before I really shut this thing down. If it happens that would be great because I got some good ideas, but they all just gotta be open to the opportunity. I’m gonna be honest with you, bruh, I’m bigger outside of New Orleans. If they really do collab then that opens up the door for all of us to expand further out. That’s what I try to get them to understand, but who I want to collaborate with, man… every New Orleans artist. I wish we could just do a record… like they had that record, “Detroit Vs. Everybody,” I wish we could do a “New Orleans Vs. Everybody” record.
New Orleans bounce music was originated in and for the clubs. Now, you could literally go on tour off of just bounce music. Whether it’s, Drake’s “Nice For What,” or Chance The Rapper’s Doritos commercial, the culture is being used on a huge platform now. Did you ever think you would see these bounce beats and just the culture of bounce music in general at this level?
Ricky B: I didn’t but I did envision us like that a long time ago. For a long time, I said, “Man, we could be so much bigger, and we need to do what it takes to get bigger. We need to start conducting business and looking for license to be able to license our music to these brands.” I said it, man. Man, I got 6-licesenes deals; from TV to commercial and to other record labels redistributed my project twice, so I’m sitting good. But I knew, once I got into the licensing part, I was like, “Man, we could be so much bigger.” I always was an advocate for us doing things and taking risks whether we win or lose because if we win, good and if we lose, we had nothing to lose, right. But now, by us not even taking a chance we allowed outsiders to come in and get the credit for something we’ve been doing for years. If we would have just made the moves or do what we were thinking with this bounce stuff. Because I’m telling you, P, I’ve been outside of New Orleans and I hear people talk and I see who be out in the crowd. It be business people, man. They be giving me their card. I think we just missed a grand opportunity, man.
Listen, when T.I. recorded the record, “Ball,” I’m gonna tell you. People thought I was dissing, T.I. I went and recorded a record, man. I’m telling the whole story of bounce and what, T.I. did, Ciara did, Ying Yang Twins and Beyoncé and how they all just took the element of bounce and making it their own thing. I say that in the record. “Whistle While You Twerk,” listen, I was in the studio when, Cheeky Blakk recorded, “Twerk Something.” I was there when she recorded that. I’m gonna send it to you, man. I did a whole record about that. I never put it out because it’s like I was angry. When I seen people embrace it, I was like, “Ya’ll don’t even embrace it when it’s us putting it out.” I felt some kind of way about that, bruh.
Like I said, honor speaking to you, congratulations on this milestone of reaching that 25-year pinnacle and we will definitely stay in touch. Is there anything else you want to add, B?
Ricky B: Absolutely! Just let everybody know they can follow me on Instagram, Ricky Bee @rickbeeda_mf1. My Facebook is locked up right now. I have too many friends. I need to start purging that thing, man. I don’t know half the people on there.
By Percy CrawfordTweet