What the Hell is Sissy Bounce?

sissycrowd.jpg Sean Bonner has published a must-read post on an underground black musical and cultural phenomenon out of New Orleans known as "Sissy Bounce." Must-hear and must-watch, too: Sean included lots of embedded video and sound. Snip:
So what the hell is Sissy Bounce? Sort of depends who you ask. Katey Red [myspace], arguably the creator of the genre, suggests it doesn’t even exist and instead insists it’s just "sissies" producing Bounce. Other artists such as Big Freedia [myspace | twitter] fully embrace the term. Take some of the most hypersexual bump-and-grind you can imagine, remove everything but the sexed-up chorus, speed it up, and then remove the sexual identity of the artist performing it. What, what? That’s right. Sissy Bounce artists are purposely androgynous, sometimes referred to as queer, sometimes transgendered, a very direct intent is to fuck with people’s heads about sexuality. It’s easy to relate, or be offended when you see one sex singing about the other. But with Sissy Bounce you have no idea. This makes the performances just as important as the music itself, which is perhaps why it’s stayed locked down for so long.

I needed more info, and Scott Beibin had it. His friend Alix Chapman had just spent a great deal of time researching the genre and I asked him to do an interview to try to lay the real truth on the line before people start jumping to conclusions. Here’s that interview...

The interview with Chapman (that's him in the thumbnail below) is fascinating stuff. Snip:
alixth.jpg Sissy Bounce is really not all that different [from the more widely known genre of "bounce."]. It incorporates call and response, the triggerman and brown beat, and a lot of the same dancing and sexually provocative lyrics associated with the rest of Bounce. There's a lot of social critique and explanation throughout Bounce music, just like any other form of hip-hop. The only difference is these "sissies" are commenting and explaining a way of life that is not usually heard. I'm sure if you gave anybody marginalized by their sexuality or gender the chance to speak from their lived experience you're gonna hear something different.
You must see the videos. As Chapman says in the interview, "The pop and whobble moves you see in Bounce are not specific to to the genre, yet all the movement that goes into the pelvis region is somewhat common to black folk and can be seen in everything from Batuko —the forbidden dance in Cabo Verde—to Crunk in California. It's just Africa."

Sissy Bounce, a taste of the real underground

(PHOTOS: Top, crowd at a Sissy Bounce show; bottom, Big Freedia; both shot by Aubrey Edwards)



  1. Except for every gay club’s stage.
    I saw many a sissy bounce last Friday – I was down on the dancefloor, but a couple sweet boys on the stage were doing the booty bounce to the audience.

  2. @Xeni I thought the first article(bb 3-26-10) was just fun silliness, now we now you were again on the cutting edge- did anyone mention you(Xeni) on Ada Lovelace day ?!
    is there an Ada day for ‘sissies’ ?

  3. Good god that is brilliant. Just goes to show that the spirit of PUNK (in all senses of the word) manifests in far more interesting forms than tired old guitar bands…

  4. Oh yeah, also, in New Orleans (at least amongst the school kids that make fun of me) ‘sissy’ is a derogatory word for a gay guy.

    Nobby and Freedia have taken it and made it much more (and less offensive?) than than :)

  5. Scott is an amazing dude, thanks to him I ended up where I am through a chance encounter.

    As far as the whole Sissy bounce thing..sure, why not?

  6. I can guarantee death by laughter if you were to watch me attempt this new-fangled dance sensation.


  7. “There’s a thin line between enjoyment and violence.”

    Well, that just says it all.

  8. @MarignyMohican: props to Jazz Fest for the multiple bounce artists on the roster this year, but it’s not due to any new overwhelming popularity. The Fest has been booking bounce since ’89-’90.

  9. Was the Toys-R-Us parking lot the only place available in all of New Orleans to film that woman singing?? Hilarious.

  10. I can’t say enough about how inspiring sissy bounce is for me.

    With Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby I feel like have a good and relevant voice in hiphop. This is a big deal considering that just being gay let alone, stepping anywhere outside the gender binary, in the hiphop community marginalizes you to the point of invisibility. Yes, there have been been “out” MC’s but they where drowned out by the heteronormative hyper masculine mainstream sounds of everyone else. Sissy Bounce is different it’s loud and raw and it’s got serious momentum. Freedia can get up on a mic anywhere in the US right now and and expect a packed room with booty shaking like it’s going out of style. Tracks off Sissy Nobby’s latest mixpack are set to become some of this summer’s hottest cuts across multiple genres. There’s no denying this blowing up.

    Success and acceptance of sissy bounce is about more than just hiphop. This music is coming out of the club and into the hearts and minds of a generation. Its a gleaming beacon of hope for all those with a queer identity, its a another big crack in the facade of homophobic societal norms, and a sign of brighter future where we’re all allowed to define ourselves rather than being confined to one of two check boxes. Shake that ass and change the world.

  11. Speaking of neo-New Orleans funk, I strongly recommend the new Galactic album. It’s got Big Freeda on it and is a walloping good time to boot. These days I’m quite the music grump but Galactic got me going with this one! I’m talking Funkadelic or Parliament here….

  12. I just want to let readers of this article know that bounce music is not gay by definition (all of these artists would agree) and that gay rappers are not a marginalized group here. Freedia, Nobby and Katey perform in what would be considered “straight” clubs 99% of the time. We just live in a culture that respects the ability to rock a party no matter who you are. And i mean that literally.

    Kids who grow up here experience bounce across all races, genders and ages. DJ Jubilee performs in elementary schools and Bounce is the music of every school dance for kids growing up in the hood AND in the burbs. It is a city-wide cultural reality that defines everyday life, and it’s current popularity reflects 20 years of hard work on behalf of all of these artists and many many many more!

    I’m happy to see it blowing up, as are all of the artists that are making Bounce today, but please try to understand that in New Orleans Bounce Music is everybody’s music. All of the “Sissy” rappers know that the whole community is responsible for all of their success. And while everyone should take from these brave folx what they need, the main message is that of tolerance from all sides!

  13. Can anybody speak to the etymology of Sissy in New Orleans slang? Upon seeing the title of this phenomenon, I immediately thought of the Meters’ song ‘Sissy Strut.’ Seems like they would be related.

  14. Here in the US men shaking their hips is considered sissy, but over in west africa men wiggle around just as much as the women.. Check it out:

    This is a typical west african music video..

  15. anon #20…

    and here’s one way the boys do it…shoulders, knees and necks…tho lotsa the boys (gay or straight) can pop it here too!


  16. if you were living in the overgrown marble puddle between ponchartrain and that armpit we call the gulf you’d get up to some shenanigans as well… bounce on. Have some fun before we have to start calling the place Houston Bay.

  17. so this looks an awful lot like what we always called Dutty Wine. A little different though as regional differences dictate. In my house it’s called kitchen dance and it’s completely unsexualized and my kids and I bounce around, we’ve always just called it Jumbies (but after a brief check on the web, I believe we must be the only family to call it Jumbies).

  18. Look up “Wuk Fah Thursday” on the ‘tube if you want to see some really weird raw Jamaican dancehall grinding.

  19. The video anon at 20 linked is gorgeous, and to a non-dance-literate person kinda looks more like really tightly controlled krumping than almost anything else. The o.p. video, while nice, seems to be a lot of people doing pretty much the same move, which makes my interest trail off over time.

  20. Must…ergh… resist… getting… up… and trying this… ergh… in front of… ergh.. my… bathroom mirror. Pant pant.

  21. support the sissy bounce movement by buying many songs from the one and only sissy nobby from itunes right now.

    such as beat it out the frame (the ring tone is also available for the iphone)


    heres the official music video for “beat it out the frame” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5n7BK6Mt_E



    wine it up-hey dj ( the ring tone is also available for the iphone)

    suport the sissy bounce movement and purchase a one of these sissy nobby songs

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