Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans
The story of a distinctive style of hip-hop that started in one American city and went international
Over the course of the twentieth century, African Americans in New Orleans helped define the genres of jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, and funk. In recent decades, younger generations of New Orleanians have created a rich and dynamic local rap scene, which has revolved around a dance-oriented style called “bounce.”
Hip-hop has been the latest conduit for a “New Orleans sound” that lies at the heart of many of the city’s best-known contributions to earlier popular music genres. Bounce, while globally connected and constantly evolving, reflects an enduring cultural continuity that reaches back and builds on the city’s rich musical and cultural traditions.
In this book, the popular music scholar and filmmaker Matt Miller explores the ways in which participants in New Orleans’s hip-hop scene have collectively established, contested, and revised a distinctive style of rap that exists at the intersection of deeply rooted vernacular music traditions and the modern, globalized economy of commercial popular music. Like other forms of grassroots expressive culture in the city, New Orleans rap is a site of intense aesthetic and economic competition that reflects the creativity and resilience of the city’s poor and working-class African Americans.
"Miller's research is more than thorough. He convincingly establishes bounce as yet another offshoot of New Orleans's unique musical culture."—PopMatters
"While Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans is indeed the first book of its kind on the subject, its importance lies not so much in this distinction as it does in the thoughtful perspectives that inform its methodology. Careful not to approach bounce music in either musical or cultural isolation, Miller considers the realities of New Orleans's geographic and socio-spacial history, the city's long tradition of public street performance, the central role of the housing projects, the stark meterialities of racialized poverty and violence, and the effects of Hurricane Katrina, displacement, and the right to return, largely without falling into the trap of romanticization and/or morbid glorification that so many others writing on the subject do. subject do. . . . Miller provides readers with a solid resource that can and will be used by writers, journalists, music critics, culture workers, and enthusiasts alike as a point of departure for further exploration and reflection."—Southern Spaces
"Miller leaves no stone unturned, focusing on every conceivable way bounce has affected New Orleans. . . . Bounce is a comprehensive history and should stand as the go-to document for anyone looking to read up on one of the most important music genres in the country."—Off Beat