One writer can't figure out why in the world more people aren't talking about Sissy Nobby.
Written by James Harris (@Dr_TacoMD)
One thing that really pisses me off about this whole recent infatuation with twerking—besides everything about the recent infatuation with twerking—is that some of the greatest twerkers of our time are being overlooked. The whole racial appropriation/interpolation and epistemology of privilege that surrounds the twerking phenomenon certainly makes for fascinating conversation. But what I really want to know is: Why the fuck isn't Sissy Nobby getting the attention that she deserves?
People curious about the roots of the phenomenon of teenage white girls shaking their rumps to EDM, trap music, and Major Lazer, have been correctly instructed to peep the "bounce" and "sissy bounce" scenes in New Orleans. It is a thriving subgenre. With one break-out star: Big Freedia, a.k.a. "The Queen of Bounce," who will attempt to set a Guinness Book of World Records record by leading 250 twerkers in twerking to her music on Wednesday in New York City's Herald Square. This is fine and good. But Freedia is not only sissy bouncer bouncing. And I don't understand why Sissy Nobby isn't getting the paper that should be heading her way.
Sissy Nobby has one of the best voices in hip-hop— one which can only be described as a Cajun Harvey Fierstein. Or what you might imagine DMX would sound like if he was a grandmother who started sipping Disaronno every morning at 11 o'clock and spoke in patois. Her boastful call-and-response rapping is done over typical super-aggro bounce beats, but her interludes sample from tracks so random they're perfect for a generation raised on the Internet.
In "Beat It Out the Frame," for example, Sissy Nobby breaks the beat to yell very loudly in her syrupy, raspy voice over Eve's "Gotta Man" for a few bars. Also, sampling Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" for the bounce classic "Loopy Loop?" That is just an excellent (and very po-mo) decision. Her lyrics are proud, genuinely sweet, and lewd as fuck. If you were wondering what the male equivalent of twerking was, Sissy Nobby instructs dudes to "pop that dick up." That's a pretty literal directive.
But my favorite track of hers is the love song "Consequences," which is impossible to twerk to. On it, Sissy expounds on the reasons she's so in love with her man, how she'll fight to the death for him, and why their love is everlasting. At its surface, it'd be easy to take this song as just another bit of subculture for hipsters to ironically embrace. Sissy was born male, and grew up impoverished in New Orleans, and is gay and refers to herself as a lady. Those last three identifiers, I cannot relate to. And yet, the sentiment is so heartfelt and universal, and her southern drawl over a piano melody accompanied by Nextel chirps will hit you where it counts. It's beautiful.
As happens almost every time the mainstream eye finds an unknown sector of culture, a singular figure is held up as the embodiment of everything, and becomes a representative of so much more than themselves. This is the case with Big Freedia and bounce music. But with twerking so much in the spotlight, I really wish other pioneers of the subgenre could be having a moment as well. Because if you think that Miley Cyrus and girls @'ing Diplo are busting out some scintillating dance moves, go look at what Sissy Nobby and her crew are about. Being thrilled with the former's version of twerking in a world where Sissy Nobby exists is like going to a Roman orgy and being perfectly content to stand in the corner and jerk off.