Where They At
NOLA Bounce Music Exhibit
Most of you are probably familiar with the mainstream bounce song — and middle school classic — Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up.” Bounce music, a derivative of traditional Hip Hop, began in the early 90s in New Orleans but has rarely reached mainstream airwaves. The songs prominently feature schoolyard call-and-response choruses and Mardi Gras Indian chants, both of which are ideal for dancing.
Bounce music requires listeners to ignore inhibitions and shake what they’ve got, with the signature “spinning” movement that’s performed by bending over and bouncing your butt to the quick beats. Drag-rap vocals break up the short choruses, giving listeners a break from bouncing. If you’ve been in New Orleans long, you may recall DJ Jubilee’s popular local tune “Get Ready,” during which The King of Bounce shouts out the dance steps in its more than eight minutes.
The genre transcends race, gender and sexuality, especially in the case of local “sissy rappers.” These transgendered and gay musicians have transformed bounce by challenging notions of homophobia in black culture. Musicians Katey Red, Sissy Nobby and Big Freedia all play regularly across the city, uniting fans from every possible backgrounds.
Currently, photographer Aubrey Edwards and journalist Alison Fensterstock are exhibiting their multi-media archive on bounce music, “Where They At: A Multi-Media Archive of New Orleans Bounce.” The exhibit shows the colorful history of bounce in New Orleans, from its humble beginnings in local housing projects to its current success throughout the Deep South. You can catch the exhibit, filled with videos, live interviews and performances, from April 22 through July 2010 at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art — located on 900 Camp Street. A small taste of the exhibit will also be featured at Jazz Fest.
If you can’t wait to get your booty shaking, there are countless opportunities to see bounce artists around town. The Hookah will be featuring all three sissy rappers for the second Annual Sweetheart’s Ball on Valentine’s Day. This self-described “giant bounce party” will feature Big Freedia, Vockah Redu, Sissy Nobby and Katey Red, and popular DJs Rusty Lazer and Lefty Parker. Tickets are $15 at the door, or can be purchased in advance for $10 at sissybouncesweetheartsball.eventbrite.com. Check out venues such as The Dragon’s Den and AllWays Lounge for regular bounce shows.