On June 17, New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia drops her debut album, Just Be Free.
Yep, crazy as it seems, this is the first official album from the star of Fuse's Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. Not that she's a newcomer by any means—she's been shaking her ass on stage since 1999 and giving us plenty of booty-shaking jams along the way, but Just Be Free is her official record debut.
From breaking down the 10-track album to running through what we know about its upcoming remixes, here's the Complete Guide to Big Freedia's Just Be Free, which is streaming on USA Today right now.
The Meaning Behind the Title
"[The album is about] being free to be who you are," Freedia told Rolling Stone. "We live in a society where we have a lot of liberties. It’s just not like this everywhere in the world. This album is my first studio recorded album where I came up with concepts beforehand. So much of my music is appreciated live, but I think these tracks are ones you can listen to at a late night twerk party or an afternoon barbecue and enjoy."
Freedia also explains the second, far more personal meaning behind the title Just Be Free in the album's press release. "It’s about knowing my mom [who passed away in April after a long battle with cancer] isn’t suffering anymore. I know she’s waiting for me on the other side."
Actually, there aren't any—and it's all by design. "I didn't really do any collaborations. I want people to feel and hear only me. I want to not ride off of anyone else's coattails," Freedia recently told Fuse. “I wanted my first project to be just me doing what I do best! But please believe I’ll have some remixes and surprises coming soon."
Between her sessions with Diplo and rumored Missy Elliott collabo, keep an eye open for surprise guests on remixes after 6/17. BTW, one of those remixes—courtesy of Bay Area EDM duo Angor Republic—is already here. Check out the EDM-ified "Explode" below.
1) "Turn Da Beat Up"
The perfect opener for a bounce album, this moody electro banger boasts ominous synths in the background but moves with the propulsive energy of a charging rhino. You hear this, the party is definitely started.
With whispered background vocals, a circuitous electro melody and a fast-paced beat that's ready for you to clap your hands (or ass) to, this one is short and sweet. Freedia's cries of "Wiggle wiggle work!" and "Put 'em in danger!" will be in your head all day.
3) N.O. Bounce
Standing for "New Orleans Bounce," this song fittingly starts out with a more traditional sounding riff played by horns. The almost sensitive beginning of the song soon morphs into a classic Freedia banger where the queen shows off her indelible tongue rolls and "dabba dabba doo!"s.
4) Jump On It
Starting with a James Brown-esque drum beat and a chorus of honey-voiced girls spelling Freedia's name, this soul-inflected banger has real horns and some bleepy 8-bit noises sprinkled in throughout. One of the album's most sonically inventive tracks.
5) Lift Dat Leg Up
This track builds up like an EDM anthem, but instead of culminating in a bass drop, it gets smoothed out into a moody (but explosively energetic) club track. "Who's the greatest? Freedia, I'll say this!" Freedia declares here, and it's hard to argue with her.
6) Ol' Lady
Freedia is the self-proclaimed "ol' lady" and "First Lady" in this track. While Freedia's vocals are turnt the hell up on this track, the music is slightly more laid back, allowing the background synths to take on an uplifting, joyous tone almost akin to Beyonce's "XO."
7) Where My Queens At
Melding early '00s New Orleans hip-hop with staccato bounce delivery and a soulful vocal sample, this is a jam and a rallying cry.
Freedia told Fuse how she knew this would be the first single from Just Be Free: "You definitely get a feeling in the studio when you know you've created something that people can feel. When you're satisfied, then you know that you can satisfy other people. 'Explode' embodies that."
Definitely one of the more electro-leaning tracks on the album. This track has old school record scratches and plenty of exhortations to "work your monkey." What are you waiting for, work your monkey!
10) Mo Azz
The album closer references her past hit "Azz Everywhere" and tosses in plenty of instructions on how exactly you need to shake that ass: "Hands on the wall" and "hands on your ankle," but most importantly, just get that azz everywhere.