There would be no Big Freedia without Katey Red. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it's the truth! She was the first queer bounce rapper ever, totally changing the scope of a regional genre. She's largely the reason Freedia fell into the world of bounce in the first place and is a major player in Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. If you've seen the show, you know Katey Red is all personality and fun. We sat down with the rapper to figure out exactly what makes her tick. Divarish!
After the first season of Big Freedia, do you get recognized more often?
Yeah, people on the street will say, "Hey, I saw you on the reality show; I saw you on Big Freedia’s show." People come up all the time—this is just making me more popular.
How did you get into bounce music?
I was the first gay bounce rapper, period. I listened to bounce music all my life. It wasn’t something I knew I was going to do; it was something I’d just sit around the house and play with. I’d hang around the neighborhood with my friends and play with it. One night, we got intoxicated, and we were at a party, and someone told me to get on the mic. Push came to shove. They just thought I was good.
What made you want to do this professionally?
When they offered me money. If someone says, “Here’s fifty dollars,” then alright. I’ll do it. I started recording a week after I did it. The first performance was a Friday; the next day, I did it again on Saturday, and the next day was the block party, and a woman came up to me and asked me to perform. I said, “No, I do this for fun.” Then she said, “I’ll give you fifty dollars.” So I did it. The next Friday, the same thing happened. A guy walked up to me, said he was interested in my music, that he was hearing about it. He wanted to record and make a demo. It changed the bounce game.
How were you received as the first queer bounce rapper?
I thought it was going to be hard, but it was a breeze to me. People liked the words. If I’m this bold in songs, I have to be this bold in person.
How did you meet Freedia?
My best friend, Adolf. He was on Season One when Freedia was getting ready to give her mom the car. Freedia and I met through him. He was the first gay friend I ever had. Him and Freedia were friends because I met him. He say, “I want you to meet my friend. She’s going to make you laugh. Her name is Freedia.” Before we met, Freedia’s little brother was girlfriend-and-boyfriend with one of my girls, one of the girls I used to see. Freedia heard of me, but we didn’t know each other.
When did you guys start recording together?
I had started rapping, and Freedia is always in the background of my songs. We were friends before I started rapping. We’re friends, and if you’re my friend and I start doing something, you’re welcome to do it, too. She started rapping and recording, too. Every time I’d go to a concert out of town, I’d bring Freedia with me. I would tell people, “The love you’ve shown me, I want you to do the same for my friend; her name is Big Freedia."
How has bounce music progressed?
It’s funny that you say that. I was recording a song the other day, and I told a guy, “Take the stampers out.” I think if you take the stampers out, it will help bounce go mainstream. It’s not just the same track over and over and over again. Bounce music doesn’t have a long way to go. Freedia and I need one more step ahead, and then, I think we’ll have it.