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

Barbershop: UofL Basketball Ban, Football Concussions And The NFL Women's Summit

ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone, Bloomberg View's Kavitha Davidson and The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery talk about the UofL basketball team, public opinion of the NFL, and women in sports.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

On The Clock: Who's Getting The Most Talking Time In Tonight's Debate

It's the last debate before the New Hampshire primary and Donald Trump is back onstage. Which GOP candidate will end up with the most talking time?
NPR

How Limited Internet Access Can Subtract From Kids' Education

Smartphones are often credited with helping bridge the "digital divide" between people who do and don't have Internet access at home. But is mobile Internet enough for a family with a kid in school?

Leave a Comment

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