When we here at Crossfade tried to get bounce music's biggest star, Big Freedia the Queen Diva of "Azz Everywhere," on the phone to answer a few questions (e.g. How much azz? What size azz? Is there such a thing as too much azz?) about tonight's Check Yo Ponytail tour stop at Grand Central, our subject had passed out 'cause she was just too damn tired from shaking so much azz.
After her rejuvenating nap, though, Freedia called us back to shout, "You oughta know!," and we talked about CYP, causin' a ruckus, the art of azz, Amsterdam, and the history of bounce.
Crossfade: How's the Check Yo Ponytail tour? Has Big Freedia been gettin' into big trouble?
Big Freedia: Oh well, I must say the tour's been going really well. And I've been having a blast every night.
So it's been all smooth. You haven't been out there causing a ruckus?
Of course, I have! You know I have! When it's that time, I call the ruckus. Azz everywhere!
When we spoke with Franki Chan about Check Yo Ponytail, he called the DIY ethic a big part of the project. And Big Freedia's been street-level and self-supported from the start. Have you always dug the idea of doing it yourself?
Definitely. It's important to get bounce recognized on a national level. I've been workin' really hard, touring for about the last two years. And so I've run across half the globe now, spreading the goodness of bounce and trying to get people everywhere onto what's been around for two decades. That DIY thing is definitely a part of the Big Freedia movement that we've been workin' on so very hardly.
Taking bounce to the rest of the world, you went to Europe this year, right?
Yes. All over Europe -- Italy, Paris, Amsterdam.
And are these crowds outside the U.S. losing their minds over bounce?
Oh, certainly. Most people get an itch for it, research, watch the YouTube videos, learn a little bit. And then they get very hysterical at the shows! It's so interesting to me that I ain't even been to a place and when I try to teach a song, they already know the words. It just blows my mind that they took the time to do a little homework.
You know, the crowds come out for a big, damn party and I just want everyone to let their hair down and be free.
Is bounce still alive and thriving in New Orleans? Or has the scene slowed down?
It's always thriving! Every time I get home, they're calling to try and get me to perform at some big party.
Can you break down the art of shakin' azz bounce-style? What are the moves? And what are the ideas behind it?
Well, there are a lot of different movements. There is a girl way and a boy way of dancing. We hold classes on the road sometimes at performing venues and different colleges to teach about the history of bounce music. We describe it as an uptempo, heavy bass, holler-response music. And it definitely has a lot to do with azz-shaking!
For some people, bounce is the opposite of mainstream music. How do you feel about the massively popular stuff, hip-hop or otherwise? Are you a fan or a critic?
Oh, I'm a fan. You know, I grew up in New Orleans and one of the most popular rappers, Lil Wayne, is from my hometown. So I support that music as well. And a lot of our local rappers, like B.G. and Juvenile, we all connect. I definitely support the rap game.
So it must be exciting for Big Freedia to be moving into the mainstream sphere. Was that the plan from the beginning? It seems to be the kind of music, scene, and party that belongs in the underground. But it's definitely got wide enough appeal for huge crowds and big festivals.
It was always our plan to keep moving forward, picking up fans, and never stop entertaining. So the bigger the crowd, the better it is for me.
Our azz can't wait. When is the Big Freedia full-length album dropping?
It's coming real soon. I'm almost done with it. We just working' so hard on the road. There are all these tours and I'm getting ready for Australia. But every time I get a break, I go and try to finish up the album. It's taken' a little time. But the more time I take, the better it'll become.
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What's the overall vibe? Is it Freedia unleashed?
Oh! Comin' even harder! More energy! I'm trying to go for that national exposure, so I'm changing up a lot of different things. Still, it's about always havin' fun. I just do what I do. Be free and be Freedia.
Check Yo Ponytail with Big Freedia, Franki Chan, Spank Rock, and Pictureplane. Saturday, November 5. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 via fla.vor.us. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.