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

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

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.


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.

Gary Holzenthal and Father
Mr. Odyssey

The original store was in the Carrollton Shopping Center, 1980. We called it a little bitty store. It was 15 feet by 50. That filled up real fast, so when another location in the mall across the parking lot came available we moved to a store that was 30 by 150. We bought this store [on Canal St.] in 1988.

We went to a lot of those [local rap] shows. At first you were going, "Ah, this is not going to happen.” My impression was that they were trying, but it didn't really look like much. A lot of them were cassettes. What they used to call clear cassettes, which was a package that I think Disc Makers had for promotional purposes. You'd put your one song on a clear cassette and just give them away. Our guys, they were recording an album's worth of music on one of these promotional cassettes, buying them cheap. Selling them at a decent price. The customer didn't care that it didn't have a picture or it didn't have a J card or even a case. It was a little cardboard slip sleeve. At first I'm thinking, "Nobody is going to buy this. Look at this thing. It’s nothing. There’s no picture. You can't put a picture on your cassette?" Then, it didn't make a difference. Then, I don’t know who it was, but they started to really manufacture product. I guess it was the Cash Money guys who started to really make some nice-looking product. That started out on a consignment situation, just buying it from them out of the car. Baby and Slim. Bryan and Ronald. I'd sell out, I'd call them up and some days I thought they were sitting in my parking lot, because within minutes they were here with more product. I'd sell out of that and I'd call them up, and then we started doing the in-stores. We did every in-store, every street date in-store with BG, Lil Wayne, the Hot Boys. It was unbelievable.

For more information, please visit their site.

Record Stores


Carrollton Shopping Center, Canal St.

Years Active:
1980 - present

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