Three members of New Orleans’ distinct hip-hop canon have combined their talents and formed a new triumvirate. Cheeky Blakk, Choppa and DJ Jubilee are now a trio called Bounce Royalty.
Today (June 17), OffBeat.com is premiering the debut music video from Bounce Royalty, for the song “Twerk Baby Twerk.” The group emerges from the backdrop of Take Fo’ Records, the pioneering independent record label specializing in New Orleans bounce. The label is one of the few organizations responsible for introducing the world to bounce music, influencing both Cash Money and No Limit Records by becoming the first bounce label during the early 1990s.
Label executives say Bounce Royalty is a result of a desire to “pay tribute to Choppa, Cheeky Blakk and DJ Jubilee to represent who they are and what they have contributed to the unique New Orleans style of hip-hop music.”
Cheeky Blakk, the original Queen of Bounce, was instrumental in placing women at the forefront of the genre in the early ’90s, giving her name to club and radio hits like “Twerk Something” and the Mannie Fresh-produced “Let Me Get That Outcha.” She’s particularly proud of her role in Bounce Royalty because unity in the scene is rare. “We are three New Orleans legends that collaborated, something not common in this city,” she said. Many say Cheeky was the first to reference twerking as a dance in a record.
Joining her as an MC in Bounce Royalty is Choppa, whose name has become synonymous with the New Orleans Saints, thanks to his anthemic throwback hit, “Choppa Style,” becoming the song of the football team’s season last year. During the team’s run to the NFC Championship, “Choppa Style” became a viral sensation thanks to the players dancing to it in the locker room and elsewhere. It went on to be sampled in hit songs by several national recording artists, including Yo Gotti, French Montana, City Girls and Cardi B.
The third crown jewel in the group is DJ Jubilee, the originator of bounce line dancing whose credits include “Stop Pause/Do the Jubilee All,” “Get Ready Ready” and the original “Back That Thang Up.” He was featured by globally the globally renowned Beyonce Knowles in her acclaimed Homecoming album. He also appears on her recent single, “Before I Let Go.”
On their first video single as a group, Bounce Royalty urges us to “Twerk Baby Twerk.” As Take Fo’ says, twerking and bounce music “is like red beans and rice.” There should never be one without the other, as far as we’re concerned.
“Twerk Baby Twerk is a celebration of Bounce Music. This is an awesome project for the city and our music culture,” says Choppa. Jubilee agrees, adding “This is an epic bounce song. It has a little old and a little new but all Nola, baby”
Produced by Beat Doctor and featuring scratches by DJ Raj Smoove, “Twerk Baby Twerk” is accompanied by the Weatherall Photography-directed music video below. Co-produced by John Weatherall III and Eldon Anderson, the video was filmed across New Orleans, in the respective stomping grounds of all three group members.
“What makes this video very special is each artist was captured in their original neighborhoods,” says Take Fo’. “Choppa was filmed on the Westbank, Cheeky was filmed in the lower 9th Ward or CTC (Cross the canal) and Jubilee was filmed Uptown near the former St. Thomas project. It was important for us to capture each artist in a place where they grew up because their neighborhoods helped them identify who they are and shaped the content of their early music.” There are also scenes filmed in Jackson Square and Brandan “B-Mike” Odums’ ExhibitBe.
Bounce Royalty is eager to remind legions of new bounce listeners who the originators are. When I ask them why it’s important to preserve the genre, they tell me “Because ‘We Made Dat,'” referencing the title of a DJ Jubilee song. Take Fo’ adds, “In 2013 twerking become viral when Miley Cyrus preformed at the MTV VMAs. Now almost every artist from around the world is using some form of bounce music and twerk dancing in their songs and videos. Take Fo’ wanted to remind everyone who created twerking and bounce music and honor the New Orleans culture by paying respect to three of its originators. We formed the group with a title that best describes who they are – Bounce Royalty.”
As of now, Bounce Royalty’s individual members will continue to work on independent projects but do expect to collaborate on another single in the future.