Let’s not mince words: the dance music of every American urban center is defined by its ghetto. In the way that DC has go-go, Baltimore has club music, and Miami has (or had) booty bass, New Orleans has bounce music. Bounce fits nicely into the rubrics of these other regional sounds. Like Bmore club, bounce uses simplistic sampling, with songs built around the “Triggerman” and “Brown Beat” breaks, rather than those from “Think” and “Sing Sing.” Instead of remixing popular hits and samples, bounce focuses on the MC, whose call-and-response lyrics are chopped up like Chicago footwork vocals. And like Miami bass, bounce has gritty 808 drums and an obsession with booty. The result? Frenetic, unapologetic party music.
Bounce has had some crossover success, in the beats of Cash Money Records and Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied,” and while these milestones are notable, artists that have labored in the bounce scene are finally getting their due.
Big Freedia is dubbed the Queen Diva of Bounce, thanks to her relentless energy and matchless personality. Born Freddie Ross, Freedia’s sexual identity gets her grouped into the LGBT-driven “sissy bounce” subgenre; for what it’s worth, Freedia disputes the distinction between “straight” and “sissy” bounce music. Still, bounce is unique in its open acceptance of oft-marginalized people: all that matters is the music.
And as far as the music is concerned, it’s probably best just to watch Big Freedia and the dance insanity that bounce inspires. Don’t overthink it. Take it in, download Scion A/V Presents: Big Freedia (below), and experience bounce the way it’s meant to be: live. Big Freedia plays DC9 tonight with Javelin and Ed the Metaphysical.