Published on May 16th, 2018 | by David Morales0
Big Freedia: The Queen of Bounce talks about bounce music in the mainstream
Big Freedia is a New Orleans artist who represents the regional hip-hop subgenre known as bounce music and will be releasing a new album called “3rd Ward Bounce” on June 1. He has brought bounce music to the forefront of pop culture which is a primarily call-and-response style of hip-hop over a Trigger Man beat. Big Freedia is one the biggest voices that has come out of New Orleans in the last decade and he is now making his way to the mainstream.
His powerful music transcends boundaries and his presence has had a major influence on the world of hip hop. He has been very influential in New Orleans in particular as a gay artist. “For me, it’s about helping LGBTQ artists from all around the world to keep pushing through and to take music even further. I want to let artists know that no matter what your background or whatever your walk of life is, that you can do phenomenal things in your life and in your music,” says Big Freedia.
Freedia got his start singing back up for bounce artist Katy Red, the first gay rapper in New Orleans to come out. But Freedia is no stranger to the mainstream. In recent weeks, he can be heard on Drake’s new single “Nice for What.” The inclusion of bounce influences on Drake’s new single means continued progress for New Orleans’s homegrown sound. “Darke’s management team reached out to my management team and I was very pleased with my sample being in it,” Big Freedia told The Hype magazine. Big Freedia is the first voice you hear in the beginning on the song. He has also collaborated with Beyoncé on her track “Formation” in 2016.
However, Big Freedia’s relationship with the mainstream is complex. In a recent interview with The Fader, Freedia expressed his concerns about not being featured in Drake’s and Beyoncé’s music videos. “That’s when I say the proper recognition and the proper credit,” Freedia told The Fader. “You know, my voice be on a lot of different stuff and people want to use bounce music as a part of their music but when it comes to the proper recognition of me being in the video, that’s something that we’re steady working towards to make it happen.”
This is not an uncommon experience for queer black artists. It is rare to see them in the forefront. After all, no one wants to disrupt the status quo and step on the heteronormative standards set in place. This can be illustrated in a recent article by Vice that shines light on the absence of Freeida in Drakes and Beyoncé’s videos. Perhaps the industry isn’t as progressive as we like to think. But artists like Freedia are taking the lead to change these constructs that are set by the industry.
Freedia’s first LP, “Just Be Free” was called one of the ‘best electronic releases’ by Rolling Stone. It was also critically acclaimed by outlets including Pitchfork, SPIN, USA Today, and Consequence of Sound. He recently released the video for “Rent,” the first single from his upcoming album on Asylum Records. “Rent” is a very exciting song and it something people can relate to in their everyday lives. “This album will reflect the new 2018 sound of Big Freedia. I’m trying to take this sound to the next level by becoming more mainstream,” Freedia expressed. Bounce music being in the mainstream will change where the music is placed at and where bounce artists are seen, but as far as the sound, bounce will always have its heavy bass and call and response vocals based in New Orleans roots.