Song of the Week: Big Freedia – “Gin In My System”

Mardi Gras 2021 has not been memorable for the right reasons. Thankfully, Mardi Gras was celebrated last year before the numbers of positive Coronavirus cases reached passed the thousands on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the large crowds that watched the floats and collected beads contributed to the spread of Covid-19. A year later, crowds are frowned upon, the Mayor of New Orleans has shut down Bourbon St, winter storms, and all Mardi Gras parades in Louisiana have been canceled. With this absence, I have been extra Louisiana.

I created a Birdman Verzuz Master P playlist because that battle will never happen and I created a “Bounce 101” playlist because there isn’t enough respect for the Hip-Hop subgenre created in New Orleans. Bounce Music was created in the early 90s after the release of The Showboys’ record, “Drag Rap.” Since then, the instrumental has been repurposed hundreds of times into anthems for N.O. representing the three P’s: Pussy, Parties, and the Projects.

Bounce Music can not help but be party music with its dance instructions for mainly women and its call and response for everyone to take a moment to represent their project housings and wards across New Orleans. We thank The Showboys from New York for the beat that became known as the “Triggaman” beat, but the initiative to keep it local with call and response moments came from Gregory D and his DJ, Mannie Fresh with their brass laced, “Buck Jump Time.”

Thanks to several block parties and school gymnasium performances, legends emerged by the name of DJ Jubilee, DJ Jimi, Magnolia Slim, Magnolia Shorty, Mia X, and Juvenile. Local record labels like Take IV, Big Boy, and Cash Money emerged to produce hometown talent and allow people that missed performances to experience it in their car speakers and at home. Like Chopped and Screwed being archived at the University of Houston in their Houston Hip-Hop collection, it is imperative that we not forget the originators and allow the legacy of Bounce Music to be redefined by the next generation or outsiders. The NOLA Hip-Hop Archive is a digital collection hosted on Tulane University’s digital library and created by their doctoral student, cultural researcher, Holly Hobbs in 2012. Also, I recommend subscribing to Newtral Groundz ‘s YouTube channel for documentaries and video interviews featuring New Orleans’ finest.

While I appreciate Beyonce (“Formation” & “Before I Let Go”), Drake (“Nice For What” & “In My Feelings”, and Chris Brown (“Wobble Up” & “Go Crazy” w/ Young Thug) making it to the Pop stations with the sound, I want to see some authentic Bounce artists in the spotlight. At least, contemporary Bounce artist, VickeeLo was able to get some recognition outside of her region with the Megan Thee Stallion collaboration “Ride or Die” off the Queen & Slim soundtrack. The dearly departed 5th Ward Weebie achieved national success with his “Let Me Find Out” back in 2013 and can be heard on “Nice For What,” but, like Big Freedia, did not appear in a video that featured their contribution. It seems like mainstream media would rather erase Bounce artists from the forefront and keep the music judging by Doritos’ Super Bowl ad featuring Chance The Rapper and the Backstreet Boys. When I try to let it go, I found the latest erasure of the subgenre. For all of the “101” playlists on TIDAL that highlight genres and subgenres, new and old, niche and popular, there ain’t one for Bounce! Hov, what are you doing! You were two Beanie Weenies away from making a whole Bounce/NOI album with Jay Electronica just last year. Fine, I’ll make the playlist. Wait. Big Freedia ‘s “Gin In My System” ain’t on streaming services either? Aaahhh! Several obstacles to observing Mardi Gras this year, but you can’t ban the spirit! Enjoy the music, learn something, and keep their names alive.

Happy Fat Tuesday! Happy Mardi Gras! Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!