Sissy Roots

Alright, yall. From the margins of the margins, Andy Hopkin's full interview with the original Bounce Sissy, Katey Red, from Roctober zine, #32: Hip Hop [?] Issue. Relevant audio to follow in near-future post. Select articles (not this one, though) from the same issue are here for any nerd interested in a deeper plunge and an unlikely NYT article exists as well. Katey on sex change vacillation, her Whos/Whoas/& Hoes, and punk jealousy. Check it:

Leave it to New Orleans, the birthplace of everything jazzy & funky, the murder capital of the US, where booty-shake Hip Hop is called Bounce, and where there has always been room for cross-dressers.

I was down in New Orleans this past spring and visited Odyssey Records, right on Canal Street. It was right before closing time and I asked the clerk to quickly show me all the best Bounce music they had. As he fanned out about 6 CDs one in particular caught my eye..the one with the green black lady on it posing as the Statue of Liberty in front of New York City. As I read the song titles, the clerk leaned in closer to me, looked me right in the eye, and in a serious whisper said, "you know that's a homosexual don't you?".

Katey Red is the first openly gay or cross-dressing rapper to ever release an album. Hip Hop is a homophobic world, where homosexuals are not only uninvited, but openly and often violently disparaged. So much so that for years rumors have circulated about who the "gay rapper" is, with fans and radio DJs alluding to the scandalous offstage behavior of certain rap superstars.

Enter Katey red, 22, standing 6'1", with short shorts and nicely curled and set hair, Katey didn't plan on being a rap superstar. She used to just do hair and rhyme with her girlfriends around the Melpomene housing projects, until one night her friends convinced a drunken Katey to grab the microphone at a block party. The rest is sissy rap history. Her spontaneous performance that night was enough to convince Take Fo' Records, New Orleans' #1 Bounce label, to sign her on as their newest act. The
Melpomene Block Party EP was released and soon afterthat last year's Y2Katey: The Millenium Sissy CD.

The music is everything a block-rocking party mix should be: infectious, intense, catchy, funky, hilarious and sometimes a little scary. For a relative newcomer, Katey's sense of rhythm and phrasing is impeccable. The beats, like in most Bounce music, sample grooves that have been used in so many other songs, that its almost laughable. But while your face is laughing, I can guarantee that your ass will be shaking. The Take Fo' producers can take an old sample like say the Jackson 5ive's "ABC", and flip it, chop it, add percussion to it, syncopate it and next thing you know it's a brand new funky sound, always bubbling up and kicking it down when you least expect it. It's a perfect foil for Katey's excited call-and-response style rapping, where if you didn't catch what she said the first, you might catch it when here dancers, known as Dem Hoes, shout it back to her.

I was fortunate enough to talk to Katey on the phone for almost a hour. She has charm in her voice that even a slight stutter (when speaking, never when rapping) can't subdue. She is a mellow megalomaniac, and I believe she's soon to be the nation's favorite sissy rapper.

Roctober: Tell me about your new album.
Katey: My next CD is gonna be called One Thing About It by Katey Red featuring Big Freedia and KC Redd I have a song "One Thing About It". I have a marijuana song. I have a rest in peace song for a boy who got killed in the projects... he was close to me. I have about 18 new songs coming out.
What does "One Thing About It" represent?
"One thing about it" is just the slang we use, like "One thing about it, whatever happens gon' happen." People like the song because they already use that phrase.
Is it going to be another heavy Bounce record?
It's not just Bounce no more. You know what I call Bounce? Bounce and rap is different. With rap you think about the words you're gonna say and write verses and all that. A bounce song you can just do out your head. And bounce don't have no meaning, you know, as long as you're feeling the beat and making them feel the beat, that's all that matters, if you have a beat they can shake they behind on. So I have a little Bounce on there and I have rap. I don't know which level I'ma go to yet, but I know I got to make a change from just Bounce. I can't go on just like this and get to New York, go on TV and get an award.... (cont. as comment)


kid slizzard said...

So you're gonna mix it up?
Yeah, so on my next album I'm gonna have Bounce, probably have a second line on there...it's gonna be different, so the people can pick out which style they want to hear.
Any more dance themes like "Tiddy Bop"?
I have another dance song, it's called the "Booty Bop"...you move your booty side-to-side, but you kind of put a dip in with it, you kinda just make it go like...[laugh]...you just gotta see it!
I can't wait to see it! me and rest of the world need to see it!
See, a song like "Tiddy Bop", I coulda made a video for that. All the people in the United States coulda related to that. See, I gotta make stuff that everybody can related to.
One thing I've noticed about New Orleans music is the high content of risque or "adult" material in songs that are performed or programmed for a lot of children.
Thats why I had to change the "Punk Under Pressure" song. In certain areas they didn't want their chldren to listen to it, they didn't find it too correct. You know, the radio stopped playin it because, "Katey Red suckin' dicks," and all of that. That's why I went and re-did "Tiddy Bop". I have some raps on my next CD where I don't curse! I don't even say the word "bitch".
I've read that you wanted to save some money you make from rapping to get hormone treatments, or even a full sex change operation.
I think I'm just gonna stay a drag queen. You never know what'll go on in life, so I don't want to do that. I thought about it for a long time, and I don't want to do that. I thought about it for a long time and I don't really know what I'm getting myself into so I don't want to do that. Older girls are telling me different things, one person is telling me she she never woulda did it, another person's telling me "do it" while I'm still young so I can have a pretty face.
I was down in New Orleans looking through some CDs and I saw one by a local artist had a song called "Fuck Katey Red". What's up with that?
That's Jevakah. That's another homosexual. They called her Jevakah Re-Do, because she re-do all the songs that I do. She remake all my music. She envy me. I have a song about her on Y2Katey CD, it's number 9 ["Nasty Roundup"]. Listen to it, because I talk about me first then I talk about her. Since I came out with Katey Red and Dem Hoes, She came out with Jevakah Re-Do and the Crew. I came out with "Punk Under Pressure" and she remade it, but nobody ever heard of her except in the Magnolia. I was like "phhht." So I came out with the "Tiddy Bop," she remade that. She came on saying how to do the real Tiddy Bop. Right after I came out with my next CD with "Local New Orleans," she remade that. You feel me? I'm working on my next CD right now, and she heard me in concert... every time we in concert we got to do the new things, to promote the new songs, you know, and she heard me. She hurry up and went into the studio before I could come out with my new CD.
That must be frustrating!
She don't sound right sayin' it though, 'cause you can't understand what she sayin'! But Everybody know who the originator is. I'm a legend. I done made history already. A lot of people don't know her. When I go out of town, to Shreveport or somehwere, and I ask em about Jevakah Re-Do, they're like "we ain't never heard of her."
I've noticed in New Orleans Hip Hop it seems like a lot of people steal song ideas, like the "Back That Ass Up" thing...
I like Jubilee, and I like Juvenile, but if you look at it, their songs is different , they just have the same title. Somebody else might look at it different, I don't know, but it's two totally different songs. Juvenile say: "Girl you look good, won't you back that ass up/you're a fine motherfucker won't you back that ass up". Jubilee say "first you wiggle your legs, now it's time to get rough /Won't you bend it on over now back that ass up." It's two different songs, they just named they songs alike.
Tell me about your dancers.
I have a group that are age 13 to 15, we call them the Whos. If I go to a baby party or a block party I bring them with me, I have an age group 15-18. I call them the Whoas because they don't like to be called hoes. I bring them to the talent shows and the dances at the schools where I perform. The Hoes are the 18 and older girls, that's the barroom girls, I take them when I play the barrooms.
Since you came out are there more sissy rappers now?
Since I came out, they have a whole bunch of 'em trying to rap. But all of them are still on my style, they're trying to be like me. It used to get to me, but they know who the originator is. A lot of sissy rappers, Jevakah and all the rest of them, they kind of mad now because me and Freedia are together, a rap group now.
Who are some of your inspirations?
I love Mariah carey. I love Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. I think Mariah Carey is very pretty.
Tell me about Big Freedia.
Yeah, that's my best friend, every time I have a concert she comes with me, I'm helping her to come out with an album.
And she raps too?
Yeah, she's a homosexual too, but she's not a drag queen, she's a butch queen, you know, she dress up like a male. This will be her debut CD she's coming out with.
Have you done any big out-of-town shows?
Yeah, but only in Louisiana...I ain't never been outside of Louisiana. I done been all over Louisiana though, in the Parishes. We do a lot of colleges. I played at Grambling, Southern, Nicholls, UNO.
What kind of crowds do you get at those shows?
It's men and women. They have gay people in there, but it's mostly a mixed crowd. Sometimes I be the only gay person in there, that I know of. And the poeple really seem to feel it.
And when those crowds are receptive, that must give you some confidence about taking your act further out.
I done did it now, I done started something I can't stop. I don't be no quitter.
Do you ever get on the internet?
No, a lot of people be pretending like they're me, though, on the web. A lot of sissies have been saying they're Katey Red on the website.
Do you think you've made it easier for other gay rappers?
I think when I came out it opened a lot of doors for them. So in that way, its a positive thing. A girl from Missouri came down here and the only gay rapper she heard of was Katey Red. So she found out about all the other types of sissy rappers. She asked me and Freedia, she said, "I just have a question.. I don't mean no harm by what I'm about to ask yall, but why does New Orleans have a lot of Sissy Rappers all of a sudden?" And I said, that's a good question. I wish I could give you a good answer. All of them still didn't get as far as I got, though. I done performed at the Jazz fest.
You performed at the New Orleans Jazz festival?! How was that?
Oh lovely! They couldn't wait for me to get out there!

Anonymous said...


kid slizzard said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, you know bounce if you know Katey Redd. I don't mess with the Lord's abomination, but that song he had on K.C. Redd cd was catchy.

Unknown said...

no homo here
but that shit jam like a muthafucka