EFOC 2024: Juvenile’s Tiny Desk Appearance Almost Didn’t Happen — But One Tweet Changed It All – Essence

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 05: Juvenile during 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola at Caesars Superdome on July 05, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

“Man, what the f-ck is a Tiny Desk?” was initially Juvenile’s response when asked to do NPR’s popular concert series. After turning down the offer, the New Orleans rapper faced tons of backlash online.

“The Tiny Desk fan base tore me up,” he shared during ESSENCE Festival of Culture’s Suede Men’s Experience. They attacked me and started telling me all kinds of things like, “you’re making a big mistake if you don’t go on Tiny Desk, and nobody will ever buy your records anymore” — all kinds of stuff.”

Joining on stage by Senior Producer for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concerts, Bobby Carter, the duo not only discussed how they were finally able to get Juvenile on board, but how the show has brought on an impressive roster of emerging artists, big names, and icons to perform on the global stage. Not only being able to tap some of music’s biggest names, Tiny Desk has become so popular, uniting music lovers from around the globe.

After hundreds of thousands of tweets, Juvenile finally put out a post with a call to action: if the tweet got 10,000 retweets he would reconsider Tiny Desk… and the rest has since been history. Juvenile performed a slate of his greatest hits with a full band on his first NPR Tiny Desk Concert appearance.

“We rehearsed maybe two or three times, but it’s not like actually going live,” Juvenile recalled.

Carter explained that as a producer the show is like walking a tightrope. “The building was buzzing,” he said. “Once we put out that it was finally happening, and it was during Black Music Month, everyone was trying to get into the show. And it’s a very small space. The audience is like 2, 3, 4, 5 feet away, and it’s just an energy exchange.”

Carter added, “There has never been an energy in that room, of what we had last year.”

But his major question for Juvenile: was he nervous?

“I think the years of experience, and me starting off being an MC in a club, it helped me out. I get nervous at other people’s events, like weddings and stuff like that. But when I’m out here on stage, doing my thing, I don’t get nervous — I don’t know why.”

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