Producer: DJ Blaqnmild Album: Queen Diva Label: Money Rules
Cross-dressing has long been a part of New Orleans musical culture, and that legacy extends all the way into the hip-hop era. In fact it was noted R&B singer, entrepreneur, and cross-dresser Bobby Marchan who first put on early NO rappers like Warren Mayes and even had a hand in the early formation of Cash Money Records. Drag performance has seen a revival in the 21st century, as the bounce scene is partially ruled by cross-dressing acts like Big Freedia, Sissy Nobby and Katey Red.
Dubbed "sissy bounce" by the media, it's been a hot topic over the past few years, for better or worse. While it's nice to have national media finally paying attention to such an overlooked scene, the exclusive focus on the sissies reeks of tokenism and too often misrepresents the bounce community as a predominately or even exclusively gay one. Liberal critics also do disservice to the sissy artists themselves, framing their work as more of a curiosity or a victorious pride statement than a notable and populist musical movement.
In New Orleans the gender of the performers is more of a footnote and the music stands on its own. Freedia's "In My System" is the best example, an unforgettable high-energy bounce anthem about the power of hard liquor. The life of the hook, "I got that gin in my system/Somebody's gonna be my victim," has extended well beyond Freedia herself, with the likes of Lil Wayne and Lil Boosie interpolating it in recent years.