DJ Jubilee - Biography
By Eric Brightwell
DJ Jubilee is New Orleans’s long-reigning “King of Bounce.” His regional hits have inspired massive national ones like 504 Boyz’ “Wobble Wobble” and Juvenile’s “Back that Azz Up.” However, his recognition remains mostly local. He continues to work as a Special Ed teacher, coach, community activist and all-around force of positivity whilst continuing to regularly DJing at block parties.
DJ Jubilee was born Jerome Temple around 1966 in New Orleans. He grew up in the 10th Ward’s St. Thomas projects. The nickname “Jubilee” was bestowed upon Temple when was eight or nine by his older brother, in reference to New Orleans Saints player Jubilee Dunbar. Jubilee started DJing in the ‘80s, whilst attending Walter L. Cohen High. After high school he attended Grambling State University. There, as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, he became an in-demand DJ, which lead to radio slots on the college station before his graduation in 1991. Upon completing school he first found work as a Special Ed teacher at West Jefferson and as a football coach at his high school alma mater.
In 1991, bounce pioneer T.T. Tucker, released “Where Dey At?” The following year, DJ Jimi made ripples nationally with a similar, but much more radio-friendly song, “(The Original) Where Dey At?” Soon, bounce artists like Everlasting Hitman and Pimp Daddy were popping up like mushroom. DJ Jubilee followed, with a wholesome, positive version. At the same time, public access television program Positive Black Talk lost its grant and one of its hosts, Earl J. Mackie, put on a high school dance to raise funds to help it continue. Da’ Sha Ra’ were the headliners but Jubilee asked if he could have a shot at warming up the crowd beforehand. After half an hour of captivating those in attendance, Mackie and his partner, Henry “the Man” Holden decided instead to use the money that they’d raised to launch Take Fo’ Records. The two asked Jubilee to join their label, then operating out of the back of Mackie's father's roofing business. After a couple of weeks of persistence, Jubilee agreed.
In 1993, Jubilee exploded onto the scene with his debut cassingle, “Do the Jubilee All.” It sold around 30,000 copies, mainly in Louisiana and east Texas. The song and its author were afforded considerably broader exposure when Jube performed during the half-time show on the nationally televised Bayou Classic. His four-track debut, Stop Pause (1993-Take Fo’) followed, as did the full-length DJ Jubilee & the Cartoon Crew (Take Fo’) later the same year, again including “Do the Jubilee All.”
After 21 years of life in St. Thomas, Jubilee moved across the river. The title of his next album, 20 Years in the Jets (1996-Take Fo’) referenced his former home. The album featured guest spots from Mia-X, 2-Sweet and Da’ Sha Ra’ on a set that included new material, remixes and alternate versions of previously released tracks. Though now living in the West Bank, Jubilee remained committed to improving life in New Orleans, continuing to coach football, joining the organization Black Men United for Change and frequently DJing parties in the cities projects.
In 1997, Jubilee released “Get Ready, Ready,” which preceded Take It to the St. Thomas (1998-Take Fo’). That album included the local hit, “Back That A$$ Up” for which Take Fo’ filmed a low budget video. At that point, Tommy Boy expressed interest and sent a representative who caught Jubilee’s performance at the Teen Summit Conference in the Superdome and signed him as a result. However, in 1999 the label continued to hold him to his contract whilst neglecting to release any material. Meanwhile, Take Fo’s distributor went bankrupt and Bobby “Mr. Sister” Marchan, the label’s promoter and booking agent, died.
While Jubilee was contractually bound by Tommy Boy, he couldn’t release anything as a solo artist so he mortgaged his house to release an album by his dancers, The Bounce Squad. Bouncin All over the World (1999-Take Fo’) was a well-produced mix of bounce and bounce-inflected New Orleans rap performed by Willie Puckett (a bounce rapper in his own right), Twerker, Kooly and Anky. The album also featured contributions by other Take Fo’ artists including Willie Puckett, KC Red, Bigg Ramp, Big Al & Lil T and Junie B.
After having slept on him, Tommy Boy finally released Jubilee from his contract. Jubilee returned with Do Yo Thang Girl! (2000-Take Fo) which was followed by appearances alongside new signees like Choppa and Josephine Johnny on Take Fo Superstars’ Party at the Luau (2000) collection. One of Jube’s tracks, “Do the Mario,” was an insanely infectious song built on a sample of Koji Kondo’s theme from the Nintendo game.
After the release of Jubilee’s Walk with It (2004-Take Fo), the rapper and Take Fo’ attempted to sue Cash Money over similarities between Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” and Jubilee’s earlier “Back That A$$ Up.” In 2005, Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King, ruled that Jubilee didn’t own the rights to “the poetic four-word phrase ‘back that ass up’.” Since then, Jubilee hasn’t released any new albums (although he and B.G. recently released “Move Ya Body” on the internet) Instead, Jubilee has focused on DJing, even scoring a regular slot on Q93. Since Katrina hit New Orleans, however, not much was heard from him until 2007, when his career was highlighted in Matt Miller’s bounce documentary, Ya Heard Me?
In 2009, newer bounce artists like Peecachoo, Gotti Boi Chris and 5th Ward Weebie have continued to carry on Jubilee’s legacy – 5th Ward Weebie even started referring to himself as the “Bounce King.” Apparently there are no hard feelings between the two bounce monarchs, who joined Ms. Tee (“The Real Queen of New Orleans”) on stage at the 2009 Jazz Fest. Recently he claimed to be in discussions with Dick Clark’s daughter about a possible biopic after she read an article on him in The New York Times from 2000. Even if that happens, it wouldn’t be surprising if the committed activist continues to coach, teach Special Ed students, and work as a school bus attendant in addition to working as a DJ and occasional recording artist.