I’ve been known to shake my ass on the dance floor. It’s kind of what I do.
But let me back it up for a minute. (See what I did there?)
I am in love with the city of New Orleans. I have been there four times, and every single time I fall in love with a new aspect of this magical place that is more like a living, breathing, human being of a city in all of its beauty, its flaws, its darkness, its hope, light, noise and endless music. Oh, and the perfect food. New Orleans is my soul.
Last year, I stumbled across a reality show on Fuse about Big Freedia. From the commercial, I gathered that Big Freedia was from New Orleans, and that was enough to get me interested. I started watching and realized that Freedia is a bounce artist who came up in the scene with Katey Red. As an LGBTQ African-American artist, Freedia is a trailblazer in the bounce scene. After discovering the show, I discovered the music. Basically, if I created the perfect dance music for myself, it would be Big Freedia’s everything. “Na Who Mad” has an infectious beat that goes hard – in fact, every single Big Freedia song has a beat that goes hard, because this is the stuff people twerk to for real – none of this Miley style ripoff twerk. This is straight up music and dance descendent of Africa and morphed into New Orleans today. My other Freedia favorites are “Go Duffy,” “Y’all Get Back Now,” and “Dangerous.”
To ease into the Big Freedia world, check out the collaboration she did with Galactic: Double It.
So, what is bounce? Here’s the official Wikipedia definition: Bounce is characterized by call-and-response-style party and Mardi Gras Indian chants and dance call-outs that are frequently hypersexual. These chants and call-outs are typically sung over the “Triggerman beat” which is sampled from the songs “Drag Rap” by the Showboys, “Brown Beat” by Cameron Paul, and also Derek B’s “Rock The Beat”.The sound of bounce has primarily been shaped by the recycling and imitation of the “Drag Rap” sample: its opening chromatic tics, the intermittent shouting of the word “break,” the use of whistling as an instrumental element (as occurs in the bridge), the vocoded “drag rap” vocals and its brief and repetitive melody and quick beat (which were produced with use of synthesizers and drum machines and are easily sampled or reproduced using like-sounding elements). Typical of bounce music is the “shouting out” of or acknowledgment of geographical areas, neighborhoods and housing projects, particularly of the State of Louisiana and, to a lesser extent, Texas.
I had the chance to see Big Freedia at New Orleans Jazz Fest this past May, but this also occurred on what is known as Elton John day, where you couldn’t get near a stage at a certain point – basically the crowds became unbearable. I was about a mile away from the stage and nowhere near the party. But now, my dream of REALLY seeing Big Freedia is coming true as she comes to Pittsburgh Nov. 3! I am beyond excited to see Freedia in a club setting. And while I will be flying solo because none of my friends can get into the insanity that is the bounce beat, I will be twerking my night away independently!