What the Hell is Sissy Bounce?


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:

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)