I met New Orleans bounce artist Nicky Da B in a Mardi Gras beer bust at a Nola leather bar. His manager Rusty Lazer (check out my interview with from the same trip) introduced us, shortly before the two ventured to the DJ booth upstairs where people started shedding clothes fast on the dancefloor.
And not (just!) for your run of the mill nightlife encounters that can be found at Eagles across the country -- they were doing fast, sweaty DJ and the hella diverse crowd was losing it, including the leathermen who were down to give the scene a try, or at least continue their standard bar-time activities while a bunch of twenty-somethings flung themselves around them. Asses were popping so fast you didn't know their owners' hip sockets were going to be okay, it was that kind of party. Come to think of it, New Orleans tends to be that kind of party.
Seven months later, Nicky is riding high on the ace "Express Yourself" bounce track he put together with Diplo. He's toured the country and beyond. He played the Sydney Opera House, for chrissakes. He's also part of a queer hip-hop renaissance best epitomized by Frank Ocean's coming-out, fellow Nola bounce queen Big Freedia, a whole mess of New York artists who are gaining ground, and locally by the glitter-gunned duo Double Duchess and female emcee Micah Tron.
But bounce artists are special, Nicky says. "We're like the hypemen of hip-hop, kinda sorta," he told me last week during a sweet little phone interview.
He's making his SF debut Thu/16 at Public Works, finally. The Future Perfect and Stay Gold crews have the honor of welcoming the cardigan-ed wonder to town, where he told me he plans to ride a cable car. "We have street cars in New Orleans but I haven't been on anyone else's yet," he said. He's great. And really soft-spoken for a guy who has no trouble directing crowds in real grimy (in a good way) dancing at his live shows, where he rapid-fires bend-over instructions on top of driving bounce beats.
Nicky's earliest memory of bounce was from back when a small thing in New Orleans, listening to sissy bounce progenitor Katy Red and Vockah Redu. And dancing. He says he was dancing, even then, all the time. "That's a rule," he said. "You have to know how to dance in New Orleans or you get whacked. If you walk up to anybody and they're originally from New Orleans and they grew up in New Orleans they know how to dance." He started performing when he graduated from high school.
Now he's making it happen, currently working on the "Express Yourself"/"Hot Potato Style" (his new single, see great video above) follow-up, a mixtape tenatively called Legend in the Making that he says will incorporate other genres -- more hip-hop, more house, more techno.
And if you didn't start machine-gunning your hips to bounce at age eight like Nicky, he wants you to know there's no call to get shy. "If you're having fun doing it, then you're doing it right," he told me. "There's more advanced moves that some people can't just get, but they'll get over time. There's no right or wrong way."
Nicky Da B
Thu/16 9pm, $8-10 advance tickets
161 Erie, SF