Big Freedia Lays Out The Basics Of Bounce | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Big Freedia Lays Out The Basics Of Bounce

Play associated audio

Born out of New Orleans club culture, bounce music isn't just best experienced in person — it's almost impossible to understand in the abstract. But Big Freedia (pronounced "free-duh"), one of the style's biggest stars, says the music does have a few defining features.

Bounce is based in hip-hop. It favors punchy tempos, heavy bass and call-and-response vocals. Many of the songs are structured around a handful of samples, most notably a snippet from "Drag Rap," a 1986 track by the New York rap group The Showboys.

"We use those beats in a lot of our music," Freedia says. "We know how to flip it a million and one ways — and the producers, they know what to do with it to make the crowd jump."

That's another thing: Bounce is party music, hypersexual and made to be danced to. (The more your butt is moving, the better). Freedia says that's why the lyrics are usually kept simple: "You've gotta leave room for the bass and the boom and the knock," she says, "and for people to be able to just free themselves and express themselves through dance."

Big Freedia is the stage name of Freddie Ross, a New Orleans native who, in the late 1990s, helped usher in a wave of openly queer bounce performers. Today, she's one of the few bounce artists with national exposure, and her profile is about to get bigger: a documentary about her life, a dance instruction DVD and her first proper full-length album are all in the pipeline. To hear her conversation with NPR's Robert Smith, click the audio link on this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

A Wisecracking Biochemist Shares Her Kitchen ABCs

Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, has tips on taking the bitter bite out of coffee, and holding onto cabbage's red hue while it's in the pan.
NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

New Facebook App A Throwback To Old Chatrooms

Facebook's new app, Rooms, harkens back to the days of 1990s anonymous chat rooms. New York Times tech reporter, Mike Isaac, talks about why having secret identities online is a good thing.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.