Nicky Da B

Interview by
Miguel Figueroa
Photography by
John Daddario


The morning before his show at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, I met up with 22-year-old MC Nicky Da B — née Nickisse Tony from Louisiana,USA — at his rented apartment in Brooklyn to get the low down on the future of ‘sissy bounce’. Bounce music surfaced in New Orleans over twenty years ago, then lingered ‘round the bayou until queer artists like Katey Red, Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby battered it in gayness and deep-fried it for a larger audience. It’s raucous party music crafted for live performance and booty-trembling. For a guy with such a commanding vocal presence, Nicky is rather petit, standing at just five foot, six inches — think Prince or Tom Cruise without the platform shoes.

Miguel: What part of New Orleans are you from?
Nicky: Uptown, in the 17th Ward… Pigeon Town, Carrollton, whatever you wanna call it.
What was it like growing up there?
It was fun. New Orleans is kinda like New York sorta, except that we are more lenient.
I went to New Orleans back in 2005 for five days of excess.
I’ve been going to clubs there since I was fourteen, staying out drinking ‘til five in the morning. I don’t drink or smoke or do anything now. I’ve done all that. I hate the smell of alcohol and I hate the smell of weed. Rapping is my natural high, it gives me that extra whatever.
Is sissy bounce taking its place in the city’s rich musical tradition?
It is. Why? I have no idea. But thank god for people like Big Freedia and Rusty Lazer who have given people the opportunity to know what bounce is.
Did they take you under their wing?
I was very close to Katey Red — she’s the first gay bounce artist — but nobody took me under their wing. Katey took me to the studio to record when I was eighteen. Everything else I mostly do on my own. I come up with my own ideas, and work with a specific group of New Orleans producers.
Are there sissy bounce balls?
No, it’s just one big family with egos clashing and fighting to be number one.
And is anyone making people bounce more than another?
Bounce is at a standstill. They release songs back home every week, but no one will hear it unless that person goes out and performs it — unless Katey, Freedia, Sissy Nobby or myself do it. As soon as I get back home, I’m going to record again.
How did sissy bounce start?
Gay bounce started with Katey, and from there she produced Freedia. Katey took Freedia under her wing and Freedia blossomed, and from there, it was like an epidemic. Right after those two, it exploded to fifty or sixty bounce artists, just in New Orleans.
Do you ever feel pressure from perspective labels to be less gay?
I’m independent. If I feel like being gay today, I’ll be gay today. If I wanna act like a boy, I’ll do the boy thing. If someone told me to make my music more masculine, that would be a fuck no, fuck you. We gays bring the party! We are the ones that can tell girls to strip and jiggle their ass, and not leave them feeling offended.
Being gay gives you that get out of jail free card, I guess. You can call a woman a bitch, a gay guy a faggot and it’s fine. Do your fans ever try to pick up on you?
Sometimes people be grabbing me, but I have a boyfriend. He’d kill me!
How long have you guys been together?
It’ll be two years this Halloween.
Does he have a big ass?
Yes, he does. My boyfriend is like, six foot, three…
Is he your bouncer?
No, but he treats me like that when we go out.
Did you dress up for Halloween?
I didn’t dress up. I was performing at Club Caribbean in New Orleans. Some of the backup dancers were dressed up as fairies, but I don’t like to. Honestly, I’d rather stay inside, eat some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and play my video games.
Is that gay diner, Clover Grill, at the end of Bourbon Street still open?
Yes. You can get the best burgers or grilled cheese sandwiches at 7 A.M. after you’ve finished drinking.
What is your favorite Southern food?
Oh my god… Anything that my mother can cook. My favorite foods are spaghetti with meatballs, gumbo, lasagna…
Do you come from a big Southern family?
I am an only child. I grew up with my mother and grandmother, but my grandmother passed when I was eleven. And we have two dogs: a pitbull and a shitzu, Miyako and Dutch.
What about your father?
He wasn’t around much when I was young. I’ve seen him like twice in my life and he’s been in jail since I was eight, so…
Can you cook?
I can’t even boil an egg! Wait — I shouldn’t say that. I do know how to bake the best chicken breast ever.*
Does your boyfriend like your cooking?
No, he doesn’t. He’s really country, and a lazy cook. If he’s hungry, he won’t even cook it all the way. I don’t eat anything he cooks, unless he fries fish or chicken.
How old is he?
Twenty-two, like me.
What’s his sign?
He was born January fourth…
So he’s a capricorn.
Yes, and I am a pisces.
Me too!
March thirteenth.
March sixteenth!
You born on my godmother’s birthday…
Do you like being a pisces? People either love us or hate us.
They say we play a lot of love games, and I’m like, that’s not true.
It is. A scorpio once told me, ‘You guys are the worst… At a shoe store, for instance, you know what shoe you want, but you still have to try on all the other shoes in the store’.
He’s right! And we love water.
Were you in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit?
Yes, and the next day everybody was lootin’ — including the police. After a couple of days, we had to leave and go to the most boring place. Plano, Texas. It’s a huge retirement city. I was there for six months.
Sound’s absolutely plain-o. Back to butts… Are you an ass man?
More into cocks?
But what kind of butts do you like?
Clean ones. My boyfriend doesn’t like when I touch his ass.
Do you like to get spanked?
I do… If the mood is right.
The gluteus maximus is actually the strongest muscle in the body. Do you need strong butt muscles to dance to sissy bounce?
No, you really don’t. It’s more in your hip movement. I know some boys who have no ass and can bounce.

*BUTT NOTE: Nicky Da B’s Oven-baked Chicken Breast
2 whole boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash seasoning
1 teaspoon McCormick onion powder
1 teaspoon McCormick dried parsley flakes
a dash of McCormick lemon pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

First, get yourself some frozen, boneless chicken cutlets, let them thaw, rinse them, and cut them down the middle. Make a spice blend with the Mrs. Dash, onion powder, dried parsley, lemon pepper plus a smidge of black pepper and salt to taste. Rub it all over the chicken breasts, and then pop them back in the icebox. You’ve got to marinate them overnight — that’s the secret — and cook them the next day in a preheated oven at 350˚ F (or 176˚ C) for about 20-30 minutes. Serves two.

Published on 30 November 2012