Although the Magnolia Housing Projects have long been demolished, a light post still stands at the corner where youth like Vockah Redu (Javocca Davis) gathered to rap and create beats. The light post marks one of the birthplaces of Bounce music, a genre of rap specific to New Orleans that has invigorated crowds throughout the South. Vockah Redu and the Cru animate the stage with their dynamic revival of dance, music, and art from the street corner to the club. More than your typical hip-hop act, this theatrical performance sets the stage for a sweaty hands down booty up good time, transforming any party, bar, or dance floor in your neighborhood.
The original Cru formed in 1997 and was composed of the Ave Girls; Joi Jadah (Joi Denise Sessions), Teedy Booh (Tasha Marie Butler), Ninny (Shanita Davis), Grahonda Pooh (Madonna Melissa Oliver). Currently the Cru is composed of Shortee Whop (Glendell Weir), Energyzah (Clarence Mosley), and Taveion Rodeo (Donte Brown). The Cru dominates the stage with electrifying choreography, costumery, skits, and superb street style.
What press are saying:
“Vockah Redu & the Cru provide street-level ass-shaking combined of spiritual and sexual energy with straight-up New Orleans bounce roots, like if Prince and Erykah Badu had a baby and raised it in the Magnolia Projects.” — Alison Fensterstock, New Orleans Gambit Weekly
“Soon Vockah Redu hit the stage — a tall, commanding presence in an outra- geous space-age outfit right out of Grace Jones or Labelle, topped off with crazy glasses made out of cigarettes. (Shades of Lady Gaga, pardon the pun.) I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo but I was too stunned to think of something like that. Their DJ kicked in some kinetic electro-funk — I believe the kids call it “sissy bounce” — and then Vockah Redu proceeded and continued to rock the mike. Three backup singers, two of whom were transvestites, belted out catchy call-and-response chants and ingenious hocketing vocals that called to Africa (not to mention Balinese ketjak singing), and harked back to the play- ground chant aspects of the Nawlins classic “Iko Iko,” not to mention early ’80s electro hip-hop like Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force. I wouldn’t be sur- prised if the lyrics were pretty raunchy, but it had a gospel-like passion, a burning, defiant pride. It was “just” dance party music, but it was life-affirming. I almost wept, it was so great. The fact that they’re from the resurgent New Orleans made it even better. My SXSW had been redeemed at the very last moment: 3:00 AM Sunday morning, to be precise.” — Michael Azzerad, You and What Army
Fantahsea by Vockah Redu