February 23, 1999 was a pretty monumental day in hip-hop. Eminem released his major label debut, The Slim Shady LP and properly introduced America to the man who would eventually become the most successful rapper (sales wise) in history. TLC released their long-awaited third album, Fanmail featuring songs like “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty”. But, the one moment of that day that has turned into a cultural landmark comes from Juvenile, Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh.
Yes, feel old guys — “Back That Azz Up” turns 20.
A few factoids to remember:
- Juvenile saying “Cash Money taking over for the ’99 and the 2000” isn’t on the explicit version of the song but rather the clean version. Same for Wayne with his most important guest appearance.
- Every dancefloor in America has had at least one moment where time stood still and all the ladies reported to twerk.
- It’s the second and most popular single from Juvenile’s 400 Degreez album which turned 20 on November 3, 1998.
Apparently, somebody at Cash Money got the memo of the significance of “Back That Thang Up” turning 20 because landmark Cash Money albums from B.G. to the Big Tyers and the Hot Boys all arrived on streaming services on Friday.
Whether you like “Back That Thang Up” or the more raunchier version, you know where you were when you first heard those epic violins and the preamble to the twerk constitution. It’s stood the test of time and for a certain generation — it’s their version of “Before I Let Go” by Maze and Frankie Beverly.