Recording the Places of New Orleans Hip-hop through the NOLA Hip-hop and Bounce Archive

Tulane University
Published December 10, 2014
NOLA Hip-hop and Bounce Archive launch party poster, Holly Hobbs, 2014.
NOLA Hip-hop and Bounce Archive launch party poster, Holly Hobbs, 2014.

The NOLA Hip-hop and Bounce Archive, the first university-affiliated southern rap archive in the Deep South, is now online. The archive features over forty videotaped oral history interviews with pioneers of New Orleans rap and bounce music, including Mannie Fresh, Mystikal, KLC, DJ Jubilee, Ms. Tee, 5th Ward Weebie, Nicky da B (1990–2014), and many more. The archive also includes materials from Alison Fensterstock and Aubrey Edwards's Where They At exhibit, which screened at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in 2010 and includes over fifty photographic portraits and audio interviews with New Orleans rappers, DJs, producers, photographers, label owners, promoters, record store personnel, journalists, and other parties involved in the New Orleans hip-hop and bounce scene from the late 1980s through Hurricane Katrina.

The NOLA Hip-hop Archive is the culmination of over two years of oral history interview work documenting the stories of the pioneers and legends who helped to create New Orleans rap and bounce. Housed by the Amistad Research Center and the Tulane University Digital Library, the archive mission has been made possible through additional support from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, Music Rising, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, and a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Fiend at Inner Recess studio, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Holly Hobbs, 2014.
Fiend at Inner Recess studio, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Holly Hobbs, 2014.
Holly Hobbs at the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014. Photograph by Jason Saul.
Holly Hobbs at the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014. Photograph by Jason Saul.

The oral histories in the NOLA Hip-hop Archive all engage with the specifics of local geographies, many of which are now forever altered post-Katrina. Former No Limit recording artist Fiend describes growing up near the intersection of Edinburgh and Eagle streets in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans in his archive interview, where his family owned a bar frequented by jazz, blues, soul and rhythm and blues artists. The family bar was directly across the street from Ghost Town, a now defunct venue often referred to as "the place where bounce began." T. T. Tucker, co-creator of the seminal bounce track, "Where Dey At," famously performed at Ghost Town, an experience he describes in his own rare archive interview. Throughout the archive videos, other artists reference Ghost Town, T. T. Tucker, and other defining people and places in the New Orleans hip-hop canon. Streets and neighborhoods serve as important touchstones in the narratives of many New Orleans hip-hop and bounce artists, and these continuities of time and space are told here through the artists' own words.

The site goes live formally on December 11, 2014, with a launch party from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Cafe Instanbul in New Orleans. The evening will feature Nesby Phips DJing, with a performance by Truth Universal. Please visit the archive at nolahiphoparchive.com and join us on the 11th.

About the Author

Holly Hobbs is currently completing her PhD at Tulane University where she is writing her dissertation on post-Katrina hip-hop and recovery in New Orleans. She has worked as a promoter, artist manager, and musician within the New Orleans hip-hop community since 2008. She is a writer for the popular music website, The Smoking Section, and the Knowla Encyclopedia of Louisiana History, Culture, and Community.

doi:10.18737/M7690H

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