Where They At
New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce in Words and Pictures

“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
Researcher/Writer

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.

nola.com
bestofneworleans.com

Aubrey Edwards
Photographer

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.

aubreyedwards.com

Acknowledgements
This Project made possible with support by:

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


Very Special Thanks:

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.

Wild Wayne
Ya Boy

"Queuing for Q93"

Ironically before I did radio, I didn't listen to much radio. I was a cassette tape guy. I was listening to all kinds of music. I was in college. I was partying and doing school, so radio wasn't a priority and I didn't have a car at the time either. Once we got on the air it was the dynamic duo of Davey D and Wild Wayne as Batman and Robin. It was just crazy, obnoxious. He was a white guy but he probably had more soul than most black guys. It wasn't a forced issue. It just was. He didn't try to be black. He didn't try to be urban. He just did him. I was kind of like the complete opposite. I'm a college guy. It was kind of ironic because he was more street and he was white and I was black and more refined.

I started doing radio and kind of was in the belly of the beast of this new music that was popping up in New Orleans. When I first started doing radio, Warren Mayes was hot. "Get it Girl" was the song back then. They had Silky Slim, and I always remember Bust Down, and then I remember this little skinny kid came up to me at the radio station one day and brought me his cassette tape. It was Tim Smooth. It was the best thing I'd ever heard in life.

A lot of folks thought I started interning, but I was just like a show producer for Davey D. My job was to be Davey D's show producer and answer the phones and set up his show stuff. That lasted two or three days. Then I got on the radio with him and we did some crazy stuff, and I been on the radio ever since.

We ended up getting these records. They were street records from TT Tucker. That was in 1991 or 1992. I know our bosses told us, "By all means, do not play this record." But, most of the people that were in charge weren't out. They weren't out in the streets. They didn't know what was the flavor. We did a Saturday night show and Tucker came up, and we played the record against the judgment of our management team. We played the record like twice in a row back to back.

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Profile:
Radio/TV/Journalism

Label:
n/a

Neighborhood:
7th Ward

Years Active:
Early 90's - present

Collaborated with
n/a