Big Freedia | Just Be Free | Queen Diva | ****
For years, Big Freedia’s ass-shaking, high BPM spectacle has been the sleeper, must-see act of big-name festivals’ daytime hours, a space that helped expose the Queen Diva’s raucous bounce to huge swaths of new fans.
With Just Be Free, the rapper who brought New Orleans’ bounce music and twerking to the national stage is looking to mainline into an even greater audience via the all-encompassing force of EDM. But where Lil John cashed his remaining chips on dubstep conventions for the success of “Turn Down for What,” Freedia’s betting conservatively, only slightly turning up the rises and drops that would hook an EDM audience.
Mostly, she sticks to her guns: voice modulation and delay, explosive snares and enough repetition to keep azzes everywhere moving through Just Be Free’s 33 minutes. But when she steps out of her comfort zone, incorporating NOLA frontline horns on “Jump on It” and Drive soundtrack synth on “Lift Dat Leg Up,” the Queen Diva reaches new levels of creativity.