Not too long ago, Big Freedia might have been considered a relative unknown outside her native New Orleans. Of course, there’d been a minor New Orleans bounce boom in the early 2010s when jack-of-all trades DJ Diplo dipped his toe into those murky waters with the late Nicky Da B on the revelatory “Express Yourself.” That genre-bending collaboration caused a surge of interest in the regional sound, but that interest eventually faded over time.
That is, until a spate of top-level superstars from across the hip-hop spectrum began to tap into the once-obscure style that had previously formed the foundation for the initial Dirty South rap boom of the late ‘90s led by Cash Money and No Limit Records. First Beyonce, then Drake, then more artists began to incorporate samples of N.O. bounce into a run of breakthrough hits that included “Formation,” “Nice For What,” and “In My Feelings.” When they needed the voice of authenticity, they tapped Messy Mya and, of course, bounce pioneer Big Freedia to lend that unmistakable Big Easy spice to their hit-making formulas.
Over the phone, Big Freedia was more than happy to speak about her lasting, recurrent impact on both the underground bounce scene and on mainstream pop culture while breaking down the song choices for her Pride Month Topsify playlist. Check out an edited and condensed version of the conversation below.
Let’s talk about why this playlist is so important to you.
I mean, my playlist, for me, is just to identify where I’m at during that time in the space that I’m in, and to just put people on what I’m on and what’s important to me at the time. So playlists change a lot and I try to keep up with what’s current and what moves me.
And how did Lizzo get on there?
That’s my girl. We wrote it together like that. We’ve been friends for over five years and we finally decided to do something together on her project and my project. I’m not sure when hers will come out, but Lizzo is just a great person. She’s an amazing spirit and she’s so fun to be around. We’ve done many things together and the song plays wonderfully into Pride. It’s a happy song.