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Warren Mayes: A Pioneer of New Orleans Rap, Gone Too Soon

In the heart of the 4th Ward's Iberville Projects, Warren Mayes, occasionally spelled "Mays," emerged as a trailblazer in the early days of New Orleans rap. Raised among eight siblings, Mayes' roots ran deep in the local music scene, setting the stage for his multifaceted career that extended beyond the boundaries of the Crescent City.

Growing up alongside Sporty T, another rap luminary, Mayes began his musical journey before New Orleans had cultivated its distinctive rap flavor. His self-produced debut, "Doin Them Right," showcased an undeniable talent that, had it not borne a Baton Rouge address and New Orleans area code, could have easily been mistaken for the work of a New Yorker. Mayes' endeavors were diverse, spanning from rapping and music production to show promotion; his entrepreneurial spirit even led him to ventures like stripping, according to his daughter G Baby.

Mayes' hard work and dedication paid off. As DJ Captain Charles recalled, he and Mayes discussed the local popularity of crowd-involved songs, and about six months later, Mayes presented him with a cassette featuring "Get It Girl." This track would become a local sensation, played by DJ Captain Charles at A.L. Davis Park during a family day. The enthusiastic crowd response signaled the birth of a hit. With "Get It Girl," Mayes' popularity soared, making him the first New Orleans rapper to release a record on a major label, catching the attention of Atlantic Records.

Tragically, on July 31, 1999, Warren Mayes' promising journey was cut short when he was shot and killed in his car while leaving a club. His legacy, however, endures through the impact he made on the local rap scene. Despite the Times-Picayune's misreported number of children, his daughter G Baby corrected the record, stating that Mayes fathered an astonishing brood of 21 children. One of them, G Baby, has taken up the mantle, continuing Warren Mayes' rap legacy and ensuring that his contributions to New Orleans' musical history are remembered.

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