“Where They At,” or “Wha Dey At,” is the title of a song generally recognized as the first bounce release, recorded in late 1991 as a cassette-only release by rapper T.T. Tucker, with the late DJ Irv. It was also recorded a few months after by DJ Jimi Payton for producer Isaac Bolden’s Soulin’ Records/Avenue Distribution. To all accounts, these recordings marked the point in time at which New Orleans rap first found its own voice in that raw, celebratory, infectious block-party style.
Bounce’s signature rhythms and call-and-response chants are deeply rooted in New Orleans’ cultural heritage, including Mardi Gras Indian and second-line traditions. The exhibit “Where They At” documents pioneering New Orleans rappers from the 1980’s, 1990’s, and early 2000’s, the period when bounce music melded and interplayed with lyrical hip-hop and gangsta rap in New Orleans to create a unique, hybrid Crescent City hip-hop sound – the newest branch of Southern roots music.
Photographer Aubrey Edwards and journalist Alison Fensterstock, over the course of 18 months, photographed and interviewed more than 40 rappers, DJs, producers, label and record store owners from the New Orleans bounce and hip-hop music scene. This archive includes original portraits and interview excerpts, original video and audio, and collected artifacts including vintage records, tapes, scene snapshots and other ephemera.
Alison Fensterstock is a New Orleans-based music journalist. From 2006-2009, she wrote an award-winning music column for the city's alt-weekly, The Gambit. Her writing on roots music and New Orleans rap has appeared in MOJO, Vibe, Q, Paste, Spin and the Oxford American Music Issue. Recently, she wrote the text for "Unsung Heroes: The Secret History of Louisiana Rock n' Roll," an exhibit currently on display at the Louisiana State Museum. She is the programming director for the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation. Her Gambit cover story on gay and transgendered bounce artists in New Orleans, "Sissy Strut," was selected for an honorable mention in Da Capo Press's Best American Music Writing 2009.
Aubrey Edwards is a Brooklyn and New Orleans-based music photographer and educator. Edwards was an award-winning, primary music photographer for the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle from 2004-2008; her present client list includes the United Nations, Magnolia Pictures, Playboy, SPIN, XXL and Comedy Central. She teaches photography and videography in low-income NYC public schools, and runs a continued education photography school in downtown Brooklyn. Her recent work in New Orleans includes guest lecturing with the University of New Orleans photo department, conducting workshops with the New Orleans Kid Camera Project, and completing an artist residency with Louisiana Artworks.
Abita Beer, Abrons Art Center, Adrian Saldana, Alex Rawls & OffBeat magazine, Austin Powell, Chris Robinson, Colin Meneghini, Dr. Ira Padnos & The Ponderosa Stomp, Emil Nassar, Eric Brightwell, Heather West, Iris Brooks, Jacob Devries, Jayme McLellan & Civilian Art Projects, Jeremy Smith, John and Glenda "Goldie Roberts", John Swenson, Johnathan Durham, Jordan Hirsch & Aimee Bussells, Loren K. Phillips Fouroux, Matt Miller, Matt Sakakeeny PhD, Matt Sonzala, Michael Bateman, Neighborhood Story Project, Our Kickstarter Supporters, Patrick Strange, Polo Silk, Rachel Ornelas & the Jazz and Heritage Festival, Scott Aiges, Sean Yent Schuster-Craig, Stephen Thomas, The Birdhouse Gallery, The Soap Factory, Wild Wayne & Industry Influence
D. Lefty Parker | Audio Mastering
Erik Kiesewetter/EBSL | Art Direction & Design
Rami Sharkey | Web Development
Jac Currie & Defend New Orleans | Funder
The Greater New Orleans Foundation | Funder
Ogden Museum of Southern Art | Partner
All the project participants who shared their time, their words, and their support.
Our images of Katey Red + Big Freedia, and Magnolia Shorty + DJ Jubilee will be featured in Fuse Tvs upcoming Freedia reality show, as well as K2 Pictures TV Documentary on the death of Shorty. We are happy to have these archived and available for use for such projects.
The data of our WTA map will be a part of Rebecca Solnit's New Orleans edition of Infinite City. We're thrilled to be a contributor of this amazing book.
Several of Aubrey's portraits, as well as club shots, are featured in this German-based network of global sounds printed book.
We don't know much about his death, but our hearts go out to his family and community. Info here.
Alison, Aubrey and Big Freedia gave a brief presentation of the WTA project to an audience of the Greater New Orleans Foundation cultural tour. GNOF was our major funder for WTA, and we were ecstatic to be able to share the importance of the project with their donors.
Thanks to curator Dan Cameron for displaying 10 WTA portraits and accompanying oral histories in the Prospect 2 Headquarters and welcome center. Prospect 2 is the only International contemporary arts biennial in North America. On display from October 22 until January 29th.
Alison, Wild Wayne, and Henry "Palomino" Alexander participated on a panel with the Ponderosa Stomp this Summer, discussing the life and work of musician/promoter Bobby Marchan, and his involvement with the early New Orleans bounce community.
Alison contributes on 10th Ward Buck's new book. Buy the book here.
“The Definition of Bounce: Between Ups and Downs in New Orleans” was put together in conjunction with Lucky Johnson, Buck’s partner in the Finger Lick’N Wings enterprise, and Times-Picayune contributor Alison Fensterstock.
Published by local imprint Garrett County Press, the 204-page, full-color book features 215 photographs documenting the history of bounce from the perspective of Buck and various contributors. Clubs, rappers and fans all figure prominently in this history of the local New Orleans rap variation, spanning the years 1984 to 2010.
A note from Alison:
So, in 2008 and 2009, Aubrey Edwards and I tracked down, photographed and interviewed over 45 artists and industry folks who had made New Orleans rap in the 90’s one of the awesomest music scenes ever. Very few of them did not invoke Tim as a friend, an influence or an inspiration. His interview was one of my favorites: over two (brief) hours together, he was sweet, suave and forgiving about my rudimentary knowledge and fannish enthusiam.
A lot of artists were reluctant to give their peers credit, but not Tim - he was ready to school me on the importance and accomplishments of people I had no idea about and make sure they got mention. At the time he must have already known he was quite ill, but he was absolutely impeccable and never let us see him as anything less than the star he was. RIP Tim.
Rapper Tim Smooth died at age 39, early this morning, after a long battle with cancer. “I hope they remember how he was – he was a friend to everybody, everybody loved him,” said his sister, Nicole Smoot.
Read the full story here.
WTA won for best indy blog. Thanks so much!
Let's take a moment to remember Magnolia Shorty who was tragically killed in December. Losing 2 legends in New Orleans hip hop in the same year is heartbreaking.
Magnolia was a huge supporter of WTA adding to educational and performance programming in conjunction with the Ogden exhibition. She will be missed.
According to nola.com, In remembering Renetta "Magnolia Shorty" Lowe, rapper Juvenile said Tuesday, "I think about how small she was, with a big voice. And how brave she was, as a woman, going to some of the areas she went to and getting on the mike and making her songs."
Read the full story here.
Our hearts go out to WTA participant and support Tre 8 after his tragic death.
According to nola.com, Tam McCallon Fischer said Tre-8, whose real name was Walter McCallon, 37, died in a hospital after the accident on Tullis and Woodland drives. His daughter, two nieces, a nephew and the mother of his children were in the car with him at the time, and are all in the hospital, Fischer said.
McCallon attended L.B. Landry and O. Perry Walker high schools on the West Bank. He played in both schools' marching bands, experimenting with snare, tenor drum, French horn and trumpet, but found his real musical calling in hip-hop.
Read the full story here.
Pleased to announce our won Alison Fensterstock is the Bounce Consultant on HBO's Treme. Congratulations Alison.
March 3rd - April 4th
For one month, Direktorenhaus shows a cross section of exciting contemporary works on the topic of New Orleans. In this city, being entwined by legends, whose various cultural influences always have inspired artists of different genres, an especially lively art scene has emerged during the last years.
Dec 3rd & 4th
WTA artists Mannie Fresh and Partners N Crime will be performing with Red Hot + New Orleans at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in conjunction with Red Hot and the New Wave Festival. Alison and Aubrey were very happy to have consulted with director Paul Heck on programming.
Carver High School
Aubrey taught a portrait lighting class and discussed the importance of the WTA project with the Carver High School Photo Peace Club in the Winter of 2010. Their final project, showcasing their portraits, was recently completed. Thanks to Ariya Martin for the teaching invitation.
September 12, 1-5 pm
Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn
Aubrey participated in a New Orleans music discussion panel with NOLA natives/notables Iris Brooks, Gabe Soria and Tom O. A Desk Set fundraiser to benefit A.P Tureaud Elementary School in the 7th Ward.
August 20 - September 2
343 Lenox Avenue
A sampling of WTA showing in conjunction with Country Rap Tunes film series; a series focusing on Gulf Coast States' culture and musical traditions. Discussion panel with Aubrey Edwards, Alison Fensterstock, Matt Miller and Lefty Parker.
Ogden Closing Party
925 Camp Street, New Orleans
Full exhibition: April 22 to August 1, 2010
We'll be updating WTA with these new-found folks in the next month or so; we are so happy to include them. Please know we still have a long list of rappers, djs, etc. we're tracking down for this evolving project.
WTA participants rapper Sess 4-5 and DJ Wild Wayne brought their summer youth group, Black Love, to the Ogden for a museum tour and a portrait workshop in the WTA portrait gallery.
July 22, 6-8 pm
For our closing Ogden After Hours event July 22 - a focus on the ladies! Ms Tee was the first woman signed to the Cash Money label at age 14, notable for her deep, rich R&B voice as much as for her take-no-bullshit lyrics. Magnolia Shorty was signed to the label even younger, cutting "Monkey On A D$ck" in 1995, at age 13. In 2010, the two former Cash Money Millionairesses came together to record the "Gutta Girlz" EP.
On July 22, the two pioneers are joined by a young lady who seems to be contemporary New Orleans R&B's future - 17-year-old singer Kourtney Heart will perform "My Boy," her hit collab with Shorty. Raj Smoove, "The Greatest DJ In The World," will be on the wheels.
WTA has partnered with the Republic (828 S. Peters St., walking distance from the Ogden) for a special deal tonight. Present your Ogden After Hours sticker at the door and get $3 off admission to BOUNCE with DJ Jubilee, Katey Red and Big Freedia at 11pm.
In conjunction with WTA, Students from the Young Audiences S.M.A.R.T. Summer Program at Livaudais Middle School visited the Ogden Museum of Southern Art to check out the exhibitions and perform the raps they had created in the creative writing class with teacher Michael Patrick Welch over the past month. New Orleans bounce legend Magnolia Shorty showed up for a surprise performance!
June 17, 6-8 pm
The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the now infamous Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. Rebirth is committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show. Their signature brand of heavy funk has not only won over several generations of music lovers, it has become the soundtrack to an entire city.
9th Ward rapper Cheeky Blakk began performing at age 14. She was an early signee to the seminal West Bank bounce label Mobo Records. The "Cheeky Blakk beat," which she commissioned from Mannie Fresh in the early 90's, is one of bounce music's most common signatures. In 2003, Blakk appeared, along with the late Soulja Slim, on the Rebirth Brass Band's "Hot Venom" album; that album remains one of the best expressions of the powerful link between New Orleans brass bands and bounce.
May 20, 6- 8 pm
Throughout the Ogden Museum's Stephen Goldring Hall
The legendary (and legendarily enduring) duo Partners-N-Crime stepped up ably to fill in for Mia X on May 20. Ms Tee guested on the collab "Why You Actin' Funny," and the group shared stories of old beefs, new ventures, and how to keep your head on straight in the New Orleans rap scene for 15-plus years. Photo by Andrea Ferguson.
May 14, 6-8 pm
The Shops at Canal Place
Images from WTA will be on prominent display. Proceeds from the event will benefit the operations, exhibitions, programs and educational initiatives of The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to celebrating the visual art and culture of the American South.
April 23- May 2
See a sampling of the archive showcasing the bounce and hip hop artists performing at the Fest this year. Includes Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Cheeky Blakk, Mia X, Ms Tee, Katey Red and Big Freedia.
April 20, 7-9 pm
Film Screening of the Documentary Ya Heard Me to kick off the Ogden Exhibit. Filmmakers Stephen Thomas, Matt Miller, John Robert and Glenda Robert in attendance.
March 20, 1-5 pm
Sponsored by Defend New Orleans, Abita Beer and Bust Magazine
With performers DJ Jubilee, Ms Tee and Vockah Redu and the Cru
March 20, 8pm-1 am
Official New Orleans Block Party Showcase hosted by Q93's Wild Wayne.
Featuring: Ms Tee, Magnolia Shorty, Katey Red, Vockah Redu, Partners N Crime and DJ Jubilee
March 7- March 21, 2010
WTA shows in conjunction with SXSW; sampling of the project features Bounce artists performing at the festival.
February 11- April 4, 2010
WTA shows at Abrons in the Lower East Side.
June 6 - July 26, 2010
WTA featured in the group show "Frontier Preachers" curated by Jayme McLellan.