New Orleans hip-hop goes to Preservation Hall with ‘acoustic bounce’ show

Bounce pioneer DJ Jubilee is proud of his role in making the New Orleans-centric hip-hop what it is today.

“My music took the bounce music from where it was talking about the clothes and the streets and the neighborhoods, and added the fun part — the dancing, which everybody wanted to do,” he said one gray afternoon last week.

On Saturday night, he’ll take the music somewhere it has never been before when he performs in the city’s home of traditional jazz, Preservation Hall.

“This will be my first time,” he said. “Now I’m getting an opportunity to make history for myself.”

It won’t be a typical bounce show. For the occasion, Jubilee will be backed not by a DJ but The Big Easy Bounce Band, who’ll play acoustic instruments in keeping with the hall’s tradition.

“It’s going to be the first time to do acoustic bounce,” Jubilee — Jerome Temple — said quickly. His onstage energy extends off the stage, where he’s as intense in conversation as he is coaching 13- and 14-year-olds in city league football.

Officially, the show will be an intimate, listening-oriented, seated event instead of a dance party, but Preservation Hall managing director Ron Rona doesn’t plan to hold strictly to that.

“We’re definitely going to leave some space between the benches for dancing that night,” he said.

Jubilee’s not concerned. “When you hear my music, you cannot sit down. It’s going to make you dance. If not, I’m going to make you dance anyway.”

He has been making people dance for all of his 21 years in music, and he has generally represented bounce at its most playful.

He was raised in the St. Thomas Projects and went to high school at Walter L. Cohen High, where he started as a DJ at high school summer parties. He had rappers with him at first, but when they used language inappropriate for high school, he let them go.

At dances and block parties, Jubilee became his own hype man, shouting out to neighborhoods and encouraging people to do the Jubilee All line dance that he came up with.

Soon, the neighborhoods started inventing their own dances, so he called for those too. “You had the Magnolia with the Eddie Bauer, the Calliope with the Jerk, St. Thomas with the Beenie Weenie,” he remembered.

He encouraged dancers to do many of those dances and to “twerk baby” in 1993’s “Do the Jubilee All (Stop Pause),” but he also asked them to do the Slide, the Duck and the Giddy-Up among others. For 1997’s “Get Ready, Ready,” he added moves called Monkey on a Stick, the Sissy Poo and the My Boy Anky — one of many dances he named after its creator.

Jubilee has a new dance that he’s proud of, but he plans to wait and debut it at the Zulu Ball next year. This fall, he is too busy coaching the football team from Central City’s A.L. Davis Park in the NORD football league.

He also teaches high school, but “football’s my first love,” he says, and his black letter jacket with “Coach Jubilee” stitched on the front is a testament to his success. A patch on the back celebrated Davis’ 10h appearance in the league finals in 2010, and this year’s team is back in the playoffs.

The show at Preservation Hall is an indicator of how deeply bounce has insinuated itself in New Orleans culture. It has been the subject of a show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and an academic history. Bounce music that was once reserved for block parties and clubs around public housing developments is now a staple of the city’s night life.

Rappers that were underground figures in the early 1990s are now old school icons, and the music they made has become their generation’s classic rock.

For many young white teenagers including Big Easy Bounce Band drummer Eric Heigle, bounce was the music that made them feel like outlaws as they discovered a world outside the mainstream.

“It wasn’t widely publicized,” Heigle said in an interview. “You had to go and find it. As teenagers, that was the soundtrack of our youth — bounce and Cash Money [recordings].”

Bounce has lived long enough to go through changes, and have people interested in its roots.

The speedy, percussive clatter of Big Freedia and Katey Red is a long way from Ricky B’s “Shake It Fo’ Ya Hood” or the 1991 single that started bounce, “Where Dey At” by DJ Irv and T Tucker. Some of Jubilee’s contemporaries are uncomfortable with what bounce has become, but he sees the change as healthy.

“When bounce music started changing with (10th Ward) Buck, (Big) Freedia, Katey Red, it needed that to maintain it,” he said. “Bounce is about you being creative. When you create something for you, it will last a long time.”

Ron Rona is proud to have the show at Preservation Hall.

“Doing an ‘unplugged bounce show is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time at the Hall,” he said. “Although many people view the genre as solely club music, I think it’s deserving for it to be presented with as much dignity as any other New Orleans genre. And what better place to do that than a place where we celebrate our traditions every night.”