5th Ward Weebie
5th Ward Weebie was born into a world dominated by Hip hop. A native of New Orleans, the once proclaimed murder capital of the world, he often found himself immersed in hazardous elements that worked against a more productive path. But, even in the face of adversity, he always walked his own path.
“I never had to fight for my artistic freedom. I always been real, he explained. “I always been a leader. I never been a follower. If I did something, if I did some dirt, I did it ’cause I wanted to do it. I never really was a follower or got pulled in from nobody else. I always did stuff ’cause I wanted to do it.”
Weebie’s introduction to the music industry began as a teenage hip hop dancer. As an integral part of local dance troupe, The Street Fighters, 5th Ward Weebie made a name for himself among the hottest urban acts in the city. After rubbing elbows with some of NOLA’s more celebrated talents, he swiftly decided on an immediate and definitive career change. “I was around all the rap niggas and they inspired me,” Weebie shared. “So I started rapping because basically, I was around it. Juvy, The Hot Boyz, they was like New Orleans’ N.W.A.”
1997 marked Weebie’s first break as a rapper as he signed a deal with a local outfit called Mobo Records. Along with the late Kenny Taylor, Weebie made one of the city’s hottest underground hits in years – “5th Ward Weebie got them Hoes Off The Heezy,” the lead single off his debut – Show the World. From block parties, to strip clubs and eventually, the hottest spots int he city, Weebie gained recognition far and wide. “It blew up fast without me even knowing!” he remembered. “So it brought attention to me from a lot of other artists in the city who was doin’ they thang.”
With a hit on his hands and boundless potential ahead, Weebie linked with Southcoast Music Group’s Partners-N-Crime, who discovered him in the midst of his meteoric rise. His sophomore independent project – Take it To The Hole – added to his legend, moving upwards of 13,000 albums without the benefit of a major label push. The album’s hit single, “I Really Want You,” along with “Shake It Like A Dog,” a collaborative effort with Partners-N-Crime, opened doors that were fast becoming familiar to the rising star. This time Kand and Able, formerly of No Limit fame, came knocking.
The deal with the twins’ Most Wanted Empire imprint cemented for Weebie an even more religious following. With it, the label decided on a sequel to “Shake It Like A Dog,” entitled, “Show That Work,” featuring Mystikal. That mindful decision ultimately boosted Weebie’s sales to over 50,000 units. More importantly, it led to Comic View appearances, commercials and a position as spokesman for the Burger King Breakfast Campaign.
Ghetto Platinum, 5th Ward Weebie’s third indie success, and debut with Kane and Able, moved another 50,000 units on the streets. Before long, Master P contacted the charismatic rapper, ultimately including him on the 504 Boyz compilation album – Ballers. On it, Weebie contributed to the smash hit, “Tight Whips.” He never signed with No Limit but P kept him in tow for the 2001 Game Face release. Unsurprisingly, Weebie blazed “Ooohhhwee” and “Rock It,” solidifying himself as a noted commodity on the streets and among the ranks of the industry elite. In fact, the momentum from Game Face resulted in appearances on 106 & Park, Rap City, Soul Train and Spring Bling 2002. Weebie rounded out his No Limit experience by adding his signature sound to Mr. Magic’s “Shake a Lil’ Somethin'” in 2000 and then “Keep It Poppin'” off Choppa’s Straight from the N.O.
Life, from then on, was a series of features and guest spots, appearing in songs and videos with Lil’ Flip, Mike Jones, Mannie Fresh, even starring alongside Clifton Powell in The Block Party, produced by Kane and Able. His 2014 hit, “Let Me Find Out” highlights Rolling Stones’ list of 20 Most Essential Bounce Songs and in 2019, he won a BMI award for his Drake collaboration, “Nice For What.”
Though known as the Underground Bounce King, 5th Ward Weebie’s talent and work ethic proved that moniker would never be true for long. “I’m tryna be the first artist to drop a greatest hits album before I go national. That’s how deep my catalogue is… hits that really made number one on the radio and really got to be videos on BET and MTV, without me being signed! I broke a lot of records and I accomplished a lot of things as a solo artist independently that a lot of national artists haven’t even reached yet.”
Before Weebie, born Jerome Cosey, could live to fulfill that dream, his health took a turn for the worst and he was felled to heart disease on January 10, 2020. The 42-year old cultural icon left a trove of unreleased music to be celebrated by his family and fans. An active participant in his community, he was loved and will be missed by the music community and especially his fellow New Orleanians.
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