'Shake It Like a Salt Shaker': Bounce Music Defies Labels in New Orleans

The hypersexual, progressive bounce scene in post-Katrina New Orleans suggests a new wave of hip-hop.

Warning: The music is addictive and the dancing explicit.

The New Orleans hip-hop sound known as Bounce is part dance, part workout, part call-and-response chant, and part a reason “to bounce your bits.” The Sundance Channel's New American Noise series recently toured the sweaty nightclubs and storm-ravaged neighborhoods where the genre thrives.

Shot with a C300 camera and vintage lenses, directed by Abteen Bagheri, and produced by Tash Tan and Brooke DeVard Smith, the video above chronicles bounce music’s evolution from the early 1990s to post-Katrina New Orleans, with testimonies from music insiders and performers. Along with the subgenre’s hypersexuality comes an emerging acceptance of LGBT representation, pioneered by one person in particular. Katey Red, a transgender former prostitute, is a celebrated member of the “sissy rap” community, an overtly gay and transgender subset of the bounce scene. A few years ago, when various local rappers decided to forgo bounce for commercial venues outside of New Orleans, their absence left space for new artists. In an industry widely criticized for its virulent homophobia, “sissy rap” hints at the evolving nature of hip-hop. But there’s disagreement within hip-hop circles over whether the term “sissy” disrespects the bounce movement itself.

For more by New American Noise, visit their site.

Via Vimeo’s Staff Picks.

Alessandra Ram is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic Video Channel. Her work has also appeared in Foreign Policy.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In