Everything about Big Freedia is big. Tall enough and broad enough to be mistaken for his own dad at a family portrait photo session when he was 17, a teenage Freddie Ross metamorphosed over the next decade to become Big Freedia—as flamboyant and gaudy a butterfly of a rapper as you could dream up. Freedia—full title Big Freedia Queen Diva—is now something of an unofficial ambassador for bounce, the NOLA hip-hop style so named for its [Cough] high spirits and the frenzied ass-shaking it inspires on the dance floor, at the walls, against pinball machines…a veritable booty-quake.
Accordingly, Freedia’s voice is a deep, commanding baritone, her tresses are long and wavy, and her glittery performance outfits are turned up to 11. A recent Pitchfork documentary filmed in Freedia’s hometown uncovered another aspect of the street star’s largesse: her heart. In the film she talks with equal candor about the bullet lodged in her arm and her mother’s battle with cancer.
This week’s Brooklyn Bowl gig is by no means NYC’s first Big Freedia show—in the past few years she’s toured with Matt & Kim, performed at MoMA and played Bed-Stuy’s Hoodstock fest. But it’s a hell of a way to supersize your January.—Sophie Harris
Follow Sophie Harris on Twitter: @SophieMeve