Big Freedia is the New Orleans bounce artist whose guest vocals have mind-blowingly elevated Beyoncé’s new single, “Break My Soul.” Bey dropped the single a few hours earlier than expected on June 20 via social media. It’s the first track on her new album Renaissance, due for release July 29. You can listen to the song here.
Here are five things to know about the incredibly talented vocalist who rocks Beyonce’s newest, (and arguably one of her catchiest) tunes.
She popularized a unique genre
Big Freedia is widely credited with helping popularize the New Orleans genre of hip hop called bounce music. The now-popular genre was previously underground but has always had a devoted following. According to her official site, she’s now imperiously known as “The Queen of Bounce.”
Born in New Orleans in 1978, the music scene was always very much in her bones. According to Wikipedia, she’s often placed within the “sissy bounce” subgenre. But she has said that, “there’s no such thing as separating it into straight bounce and sissy bounce. It’s all bounce music,” according to the book Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six by Jordan Flaherty.
She performed in clubs and other venues across New Orleans during her rise to the top of the music industry.
She runs an interior design business
Freedia isn’t defined as an artist by one area. She also runs an interior design business. Her high-end clients have included Ray Nagin, the past governor of New Orleans. Given her inimitable sense of style, an additional career in design makes a lot of sense for her.
Big Freedia identifies as a gay man
While she identifies as a gay man, Big Freedia uses she/her pronouns. In an interview with Out, she explained “I have fans who say ‘he’ all the time; I have fans who say ‘she’ all the time,” she told the magazine in 2013. “I’m confident in who I am, and I know what I stand for. When they say either/or, I’m not affected by either/or because, like I said, I know who I am. […] A lot of people just can’t accept the fact of calling a man ‘she.’ I totally understand that, and it’s never offensive to me, because I was born a man, my preferred pronoun is she—but it’s not a big thing to me”.
She’s appeared on numerous television shows
The magnetic rapper has been making major appearances on TV for years. In addition to guest spots on Last Call With Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel Live! she’s also appeared on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, Ridiculousness, and The Real.
She’s collaborated with other high profile artists
Big Freedia’s Beyonce collaboration might be a high point in an extraordinarily accomplished career. But it’s nowhere near her first major collaboration. She was also featured on Kesha‘s “Raising Hell,” Drake‘s “Nice For What” (uncredited), and Rebecca Black‘s 2021 “Friday” remix. She’s also worked with Lizzo, who appeared on her album 3rd Ward Bounce.