Emo’s Austin, January 18
By Holly Cowart
All rise, Big Freedia has arrived. The statuesque, gender-bending musical artist is the stage persona of former gospel singer Freddie Ross. Hailed as the queen of bounce music, Freedia has made a name for not only herself, but her entire genre. With booming vocals that pack a punch, the MC acts as a conductor to both the lyrics and the beat, which is often paired with plenty of wobbling, wiggling and dropping low.
Born in New Orleans in the early 1990s, bounce is a high-tempo subset of hip-hop and a manifestation of the infectious energy rooted in the culturally rich city. By combining traditional Mardi Gras Indian chants, heavy bass and a call-and-response formula, it grew largely popular within small Southern communities. It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina caused the displacement of Freedia and thousands of others that the style reached a national audience. Forced to leave home, she brought New Orleans with her, expanding the reach of booty-shaking bounce. Once the world caught wind of Big Freedia, her trajectory was set.
The mogul has since starred in her own Fuse TV reality show named “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” published a memoir and headlined stages around the world. Her unique sound has also inspired numerous well-known performers, including features on Drake’s “Nice For What” and Beyoncé’s “Formation.”
It’s barrier-breaking artists like Big Freedia who have helped turn the previously underground category of bounce into a progressive representation of modern-day hip-hop. It’s a genre of expression and freedom, and everyone’s invited. On January 18, pay tribute to the Queen Diva at Emo’s and let loose like never before.