“Bounce is not about being gay or straight, it’s simply about having fun,” Nicky Da B enlightens Guido Farnell.
Globetrotting Diplo has always been a connoisseur of distinctive and highly localised party sounds that have emerged from urban cultures around the world. After immersing himself in the baile funk that rocks the favelas of Rio, he turned his attention to dancehall with Major Lazer. Diplo's latest single Express Yourself draws inspiration from bounce, a variety of hip hop that has been shaking up the New Orleans underground since the late '80s but has more recently exploded in popularity in the States. Express Yourself shines a light on the distinctive style of upcoming bounce rapper, Nicky Da B.
“Diplo came to New Orleans for Voodoo Fest over Halloween last year but he really wanted to produce a bounce track while he was here. He was looking for Big Freedia and hung out around the clubs,” says Nicky Da B on the line from New Orleans. This was of course Nicky Da B's big break as Big Freedia, often referred to as “the queen of bounce” was out of town on tour. “Diplo came to a bounce night at which I was playing and straight after my performance he asked to do a record with me. We ended up in the studio the next day to record Express Yourself. It only took a few hours to record. I work very quickly in the studio because I know exactly what I want to do and so does Diplo,” explains Da B.
If you are not down with bounce, then suffice to say it's all about shaking your ass as wildly as possible. It probably helps if you have a little junk in your trunk if you really want to get down with this style. It's said that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many bounce artists temporarily made their home in other cities around the States and spread the good word, winning the genre many new fans.
Although it's often called “sissy bounce”, Nicky Da B strongly objects to the use of the word “sissy”. “I mean, the word 'sissy' can be pretty offensive if you are gay, don't you think?” says Da B. “Bounce has come from the gay clubs but it isn't about being gay, it's about having fun and shaking your booty,” he explains. But how do heterosexual audiences deal with flamboyant androgynous and transgender rappers who ask them to bend over, hold their ankles and shake their derrières in the air? “Well women have always loved it but lately I'm finding that more and more men are joining in and really having fun with it. I'm comfortable in the skin that I live in. I don't really care what people think. Bounce is not about being gay or straight, it's simply about having fun.” Where the zany girls of Avenue D re-imagined the nasty rhymes of 2 Live Crew from a strong feminist perspective and laughed at the excessive machismo of hip hop and rap, bounce artists don't seem too interested in doing the same from a gay perspective. Nicky Da B is just coming to town to partaay. Da B is excited to be heading to Australia for the first time. He is bringing the illustrious Rusty Lazer, who DJs for many New Orleans bounce artists. His bootylicious backing dancers are also sure to give us plenty of bounce to the ounce.
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Touted as the rapper who could bring bounce to audiences around the world, Nicky Da B has been plenty busy since he started making music almost three years ago. His debut album Don't Forget Da B released last year is an explosion of fabulously filthy raps and rhymes accompanied by fast and furiously stuttering beats. “I'm working on a mixtape that will be out in June but I also have a lot of unreleased tracks that are ready to go.” Still in contact with Diplo, he is hopeful that they will collaborate on another booty poppin' tune soon.