Bounce Music


Bounce music is an energetic style of New Orleans hip hop music which is said to have originated as early as the late 1980s in the city’s housing projects.  It is characterized by a lot of chants, call-outs, call-and-response, and a handful of samples.  It is also noted for being the style of hip hop with the most acts from the LGBT community.  Popular bounce artists have included DJ Jubilee, Partners-N-Crime, Magnolia Shorty and Big Freedia.



The Bounce chants and call-outs are typically sung over the “Triggerman beat” which is sampled from the songs “Drag Rap” by the Showboys, “Brown Beat” by Cameron Paul, “Roll Call” by Vockah Redu , “Gin In My System” by Big Freedia, and also Derek B’s “Rock The Beat”.  The sound of bounce has primarily been shaped by the recycling and imitation of the “Drag Rap” sample: its opening xylophone keys, the intermittent shouting of the word “break”, the use of whistling as an instrumental element (as occurs in the bridge), the vocoded “drag rap” vocal and its brief and repetitive melody and quick beat which was often produced with use of synthesizers and drum machines and are easily sampled or reproduced using like-sounding elements. 

Bounce in the 90s stayed about 95-100 BPM.  During the 2000s the range expanded to 95-110 BPM and in the 2010s it shifted a little more into a 100-115 BPM. 


Bounce is characterized by call-and-response-style party and Mardi Gras Indian chants and dance call-outs that are frequently hypersexual.  Typical of bounce music is the “shouting out” of or acknowledgment of geographical areas, neighborhoods and housing projects, particularly of the New Orleans area.


As similar to the other forms of Hip Hop, Bounce utilizes samplers, turntables, drum machines, the Roland TR-808, and synthesizers.




Rap music culture and practice grew in New Orleans throughout the decade of the 1980s with acts connecting with labels and artists in other cities since the rap infrastructure in New Orleans was non-existent.  A local infrastructure began to take shape, with producers, engineers, and label owners from previous generations being joined by younger aspirants.  The New Orleans rap scene incubated in concerts, nightclubs, teen clubs, house parties, and block parties throughout the city, as well as through radio play and recording sales. It drew upon qualities already in existence, including a fractionalized urban geography of neighborhoods, housing projects, and wards that often structured business arrangements and formed an axis around which artistic and commercial competition could revolve.

The city’s highly-developed traditions of expressive culture — represented by Mardi Gras Indians, brass bands, and “second line” parades — provide analogues to the emerging rap scene in terms of the intensity of creative engagement and the strong sense of competition driving the efforts of rival groups or factions. These two central features — the city’s relative isolation vis-à-vis the centers of rap music industry and its deeply rooted traditions of expressive culture, including those related to carnival — profoundly influenced the development of the New Orleans rap scene and style.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the New Orleans rap scene slowly expanded with a variety of artists rising to local fame.  In late 1991, the New Orleans scene and style changed dramatically due to the impact of a song called “Where Dey At” by MC T Tucker and DJ Irv. The duo hastily recorded a version of a song they had been performing at a nightclub called Ghost Town, with lyrics consisting of various phrases repeated and chanted in a rhythmic manner, backed by music taken from a recording of “Drag Rap,” a 1986 song by New York group The Show Boys. “Where Dey At” took New Orleans by storm, selling hundreds of copies and receiving play on local rap radio.

Bounce in the 90s

A similar release by DJ Jimi in 1992 helped establish a distinctive sound, and a vital scene coalesced around the new style of music soon christened “bounce.” Local independents like Cash Money, Parkway Pumpin’, and Pack supplied the growing demand with releases by Juvenile, Lil Slim, Magnolia Slim, Pimp Daddy, Everlasting Hitman, Silky Slim, Cheeky Blakk, and dozens of others. Grounded in a participatory approach to performance and composition, the style that these artists helped to create relied upon a dance orientation, vocals structured by call-and-response, and lyrics featuring local references. Chanted phrases which often unfolded in basic melodic patterns formed part of the polyrhythmic layering of the music along with elements such as handclaps and highly-inflected bass drum patterns similar to those in second line parades.

Other early bounce artists included DJ Jubilee, DJ Jimi, Partners-N-Crime, Hot Boy Ronald, Juvenile, U.N.L.V. and Magnolia Shorty. The subgenre flourished in the city without much national recognition, but soon New Orleans’ artists would take over the country.

Bounce dominated the New Orleans market, but the city also saw the rise of a number of artists who did not fit neatly into that category.  West Coast Gangsta Rap had a strong influence in New Orleans and acts such as Cash Money and Big Boy Records released many records that were either within this subgenre or that mixed it with ideas drawn from bounce.  Mystikal, on the Big Boy label, became one of the earliest artists from the Crescent City to break nationally, possibly due to the fact that he eschewed the bounce sound almost entirely. His rapid-fire, animated lyrical style helped convince the established independent label Jive to sign him in 1995.

In the second half of the 1990s,Take Fo’ Records, No Limit Records and Cash Money Records, led by Master P, Beats by the Pound and Birdman, Mannie Fresh respectively, took over. Those artists, while based in bounce music, certainly saw their ties to the art form “become progressively more tenuous as their national exposure and wealth increased.”  Much of their music was more in line with Gangsta Rap, G-Funk, and Crossover Hip Hop. 

Bounce in the 2000s

However, the local “bounce” scene, which had experienced a lull in the late 1990s, was reenergized around 2000 by the emergence of several gay male “sissy” rappers, including Katey Red and Big Freedia, and others. Along with other artists like Hot Boy Ronald, Josephine Johnny, and Gotti Boi Chris, they produced music for small independent labels that was well-received in the local market and bore a strong New Orleans stylistic imprint. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina dealt this grassroots rap scene a hard blow. While some artists and producers have returned, New Orleans rap may never re-establish the pre-Katrina level of neighborhood participation and enthusiastic popularity. The areas most affected by flooding were also those which provided the most consistent support for the local rap scene.


The genre maintains widespread popularity in New Orleans and the southern United States and has a more limited following outside the Deep South. New Orleans’ music has a long tradition of gay and cross-dressing performers as truly a part of musical culture, giving bounce music a significant degree of overlap with LGBT hip hop.

Like crunk, Miami bass, Baltimore club and Juke music, bounce is a highly regional form of urban dance music. Nevertheless, bounce has influenced a variety of other rap subgenres and even emerged in the mainstream. Atlanta’s crunk artists, such as Lil’ Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, frequently incorporate bounce chants into their music (such as “Shake It Like A Salt Shaker”) and slang (such as “twerk”). Mississippi native David Banner’s hit “Like A Pimp” is constructed around a screwed up sample of the “Triggerman” beat.  The mixtapes of Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul also prominently feature traditional bounce sampling. DJ Paul, a native of Memphis, TN, has, in fact, been one of the most prominent purveyors of bounce outside Louisiana, having incorporated its features into tracks produced for La Chat, Gangsta Boo and his own group, Three 6 Mafia.  Another significant mainstream record influenced by bounce music was Beyoncé’s 2007 release “Get Me Bodied”, and more recently, “Formation”. Other artists outside of the New Orleans area, such as: Mike Jones, Keezy Kilo, Hurricane Chris, Big Unk and recently Drake have also used elements of bounce in their music.

In 2010, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans featured an exhibition entitled “Where They At: New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce in Words and Pictures”, examining bounce’s origins, development, and influence.

Bounce music plays a major role in the second season of HBO drama Tremé, which was broadcast in 2011 and is set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The season’s second episode, “Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky”, features a performance by bounce artists Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby.  Bounce music, which had long been a staple in the city, also enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the City of Houston after Hurricane Katrina.



Popular Bounce DJs

  • DJ Irv
  • DJ Jubilee
  • DJ Jimi 

Popular Bounce Rap Acts

  • Hot Boy Ronald 
  • Juvenile
  • Magnolia Shorty
  • MC T. Tucker
  • Partners-N-Crime
  • N.L.V.

Popular/Classic Bounce Albums

  • DJ Jimi – It’s Jimi (1992)
  • DJ Jimi – I’m Back! I’m Back! (1994)
  • Juvenile – Being Myself (1995)

Popular/Classic Bounce Songs

  • MC T. Tucker & DJ Irv – Where Dey At (1991)
  • Mia X – Da Payback (1993)
  • Mystikal – Y’all Ain’t Ready Yet (1995)
  • Juvenile – Back That Thang Up (1998)



Electrohop – Electronic music combined with hip hop elements such as sampling and scratching. 

Miami Bass – Miami bass (booty music or booty bass) is a subgenre of hip hop music that became popular in the 1980s and 1990s.  Its roots are directly linked to the electro-funk sound of the early 1980s.  The use of the Roland TR-808 sustained kick drum, raised dance tempos, and frequently sexually explicit lyrical content differentiate it from other hip hop subgenres.

Dirty South – A combination of hardcore rap, Miami bass, and bounce music that developed in the southern United States. 

Trap Music – Spinoff of Dirty South music developed in the early 2000s in Atlanta that was typified by sub-divided hi-hats, heavy, sub-bass layered kick drums in the style of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, typically in half time syncopated rhythms.


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  2. ^Miller, Matt (10 June 2008). “Dirty Decade: Rap Music and the U.S. South, 1997–2007”. Southern Spaces.
  3. ^Bonisteel, Sara (28 August 2006). “Bounce 101: A Primer to the New Orleans Sound”. FOX News.
  4. ^Serwer, Jesse (28 November 2007). “What is it? Bounce” Archived 2011-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. XLR8R.
  5. ^Dee, Jonathan (22 July 2010). “New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap”The New York Times.
  6. Jump up to:ab Miller, Matt (2012). Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
  7. ^McDonnell, John (29 September 2008). “Scene and heard: Bounce and ‘sissy rap. The Guardian. London.
  8. ^Dee, Jonathan (22 July 2010). “New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap”. The New York Times.
  9. ^Carmichael, Rodney (16 July 2008). “David Banner: Power moves”. Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  10. ^“About DJ Paul”. MTV. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  11. Jump up to:ab Spera, Keith (19 July 2010). “Ogden exhibit chronicles the originators of New Orleans ‘bounce’ rap”Times-Picayune.
  12. ^Walker, Dave (15 May 2011). “NOLA hip-hop explained: ‘Treme’ music consultant Alison Fensterstock breaks down bounce music”Times-Picayune.
  13. ^Walker, Dave (15 May 2011). “Hurricane Katrina: New Orleans Bounce Music in Houston”Times-Picayune.