It's a day early, but it's a particular event that no one should ever forget. Back in 2005, a storm named Katrina spent most of August 28 hovering over the Gulf of Mexico and becoming stronger before it attacked the city of New Orleans on August 29. The rest is heartbreaking history: The storm overwhelmed the city's levee system, and flood waters destroyed entire neighborhoods. Few people came out looking good, either: President Bush reacted too slowly, FEMA was under-prepared and the media coverage of the city after the storm was insensitive. In the aftermath, citizens of the city scattered, some returning to help in a still-ongoing rebuilding process, others simply leaving their former home behind. The destruction — as well as the psychological wounds — are still on the surface today.
As is fantastic custom, the hip-hop community was quick to respond, offering up a helping hand through charity singles and concerts and also distilling the general sense of sadness and outrage through music. Juvenile, a New Orleans native whose old Ninth Ward neighborhood was one of the most thoroughly destroyed during Katrina, went from being a guy who rapped about booty to an activist seemingly overnight. He was working on his 2006 album Reality Check when the storm hit and it became a tribute to his home. In fact, his video for "Get Ya Hustle On" was shot in his old neighborhood and represented the first time a film crew entered the Ninth Ward after the storm. His video for "Way I Be Leanin'" attempts to be a bit more uplifting, but Juve doesn't let us forget.