Big Freedia Just Be Free
  • WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014

  • Posted by: Peter Dolan

New Orleans' resident bounce diva godmother, Big Freedia, after decades of city-local club-quake infamy, has in the past few years seen wider-ranging and well-earned fame. She's the star of her own reality show on Fuse, she was featured on HBO's Treme, she toured with the Postal Service, and last September she orchestrated and led a twerk-mob of 300-plus in New York's Herald Square that set the Guinness world record (bye, Miley.) She is one of the most veteran figures in the recent mainstreaming of queer hip-hop artists. One of her proteges, Nicky da B, teamed up with Diplo for 2012's banger "Express Yourself." But by no means is Freedia resting on her laurels — she's a woman on a mission, bounce music's self-styled ambassador to the rest of the world. And she's making big strides with Just Be Free, her latest studio album.

In Freedia's own words, bounce means up-tempo, heavy-bass, call-and-response, party-atmosphere, ass-shaking. And true to her legendary-mother status, Freedia's made no compromises on her aesthetic or sound towards pulling in a larger audience — but she doesn't need to. Just Be Free doesn't move much beyond a singular, larger-than-life sound, because its charisma is more than enough to appeal to all peoples. It's music purposed to bewitching legions — down to even the whitest of asses — into gyrating, booty-popping dance mania. The production on this album is sharper than previous releases, featuring dubbed-up, stadium-sized beats at last worthy of Freedia's massive, commanding vocals. Beginning with "Turn da Beat Up," Just Be Free leads with a bombastic track and keeps up that same momentum. On the album's champion single "Explode," Freedia chants: "Release your anger, release your mind, release your job, release the time, release the stress, release the love, forget the rest." And that's the mission. Just Be Free's about serving love and losing yourself to dance-floor catharsis, and you should be embarrassed and deeply concerned if you don't want in. It's primed Freedia for even more of the success and recognition she's due.

You can get Just Be Free on iTunes. Watch the video for Freedia's single "Y'all Get Back Now" underneath.

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