“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.
“You can do it / put your back into it / faster.”
As soon as I was able to hear music, it was bounce music. I mean, I was in St. Thomas. Growing up we had T.T. Tucker and all those people. It was a long time ago. But I remember this onetime, I was about eight years old, and I was looking out my back window – and you know, at that time I wasn’t going outside like that. But I saw, it was a big block party, and oh, man, it was big, right out on the back. And all I could see was T.T. Tucker holding the mike: “Boot up, boot up, boot up.”
Growing up, basically, we called the St. Thomas party city, the party town. We was different than the other hoods, the other projects, because we had parties all the time, we had DJs all the time. And DJ Jubilee was that DJ. So every week, every Sunday, you could count on a party going on somewhere, if it was a house party, block party, whatever. Jubilee was the DJ DJing.
The way I got on was one day me and my friend was just walking around, singing a song and he saw some girls and was rapping, “Get your drawers out your booty, get your drawers out your booty…” “Oo, we like that!” and they was just dancing. Well, OK. So then one day I recorded this song, and I knew a few girls, so I said: “Keisha! Get your drawers out your booty, get your drawers out your booty…” And they liked it. A lot of girls were like, “Put my name in it, put my name in it!” So Jube heard about me doing that, and one day he said – in fact, he was the one gave me the name 10th Ward Buck. People were just calling me Buck, but one day he said, “I’m gonna bring 10th Ward Buck up to the stage.” So I got up there and I basically freestyled my act, like I’d see different girls and I’d say “Get your drawers out your booty” and then it just went from there.
For more information, please visit their page.
10th Ward, St. Thomas Project
Late 90's - present
DJ Jubilee, DJ Black N Mild (producer)