New Orleans is known for many things. It’s one of the United States’ food and cultural hotspots. Rightly nicknamed the “Big Easy,” the party city is recognized worldwide for a good time, like their famous Mardi Gras celebration, or the decades long annual Essence Festival that takes over N.O. every Fourth of July weekend. Traveling to Louisiana ensures a unique experience, but everyone has their favorite NOLA flavor that keeps them returning. Local New Orleanians are often excited to share their own treasures with inquiring minds as they’re confident their land is like no other.
“Our accent,” says dancer and DJ, Nick Fury with a laugh when asked about his favorite thing about being from New Orleans. “They [tourists] always get us to say ‘baby’ [or] ‘how you doing?’ …they just love our accent for some reason. Our accents stick out more than anything besides our food. I just love the fact that people can really tell that I’m from New Orleans by the accent.”
In May, Fury competed amongst a dozen other street dancers at the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Finals, eyeing a spot in the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year. Although the weekend weather was cloudy with humid rains, the spirit of the competition and New Orleans’ culture shined through, providing the warm sunshine.
All competitors and attendees, both local and visitors (including VIBE), were able to get a small taste of what Fury describes as New Orleans’ “sauce” in two days filled with dance, culture, and community. From a New Orleans Bounce and twerk class at the Passion Dance Center led by choreographer Tamika Jett (also seen in the epic dance battle in the hit 2017 film based in N.O., Girls Trip) to a high-energy performance by Ha Sizzle at the House of Blues, to dining at top-rated eateries on the famous Bourbon Street, we got a taste of the unique New Orleans flavor.
VIBE caught up with Nick Fury ahead of the competition to learn more about the essence of NOLA, his introduction to Bounce music and dance, and where tourists should visit for a homegrown experience.
How do you think that New Orleans culture has influenced the street dance scene?
I ain’t gonna lie to you. We the sauce, bro. We are the flavor.
Being from New Orleans, what was your journey to getting into dance and music? Would you say there was like a defining moment?
I’d say around, like when I turned 17, 18, I started street performing on Bourbon Street. Doing it like three times a week made me start taking it really serious with my brother, you know. I ain’t work for nobody. You gotta hustle. You gotta make things work. I kind of just fell in love with it. God gave it to me for a reason, and I feel like I can connect with a lot of people through my movement.
The different areas of New Orleans that the tourists come for, they come for the Bourbon Street, and the French Quarter–
And Mardi Gras!
What are some hidden things in New Orleans that either tourists should try or you think they won’t even get just because they’re not from here?
To be honest, Super Sundays. The second line, you know on Claiborne and stuff like that. It’s times when DJs are out there running the beats and the ladies are out there, throwing, shaking, love making, rump-shaking (laughs). I feel like the tourists are not gonna see that type of underground stuff. Even with like the skate scene. They don’t know that we skate out here too.
I feel like in recent years, it’s easier to hear bounce music outside of NOLA. As a New Orleans native, how do you feel about that evolution? Do you think that it’s important for Bounce to be shared?
I mean, growing up, I thought it was just home. But I feel like everybody should really feel this. It’s a great feeling. It makes you feel good, feel happy, you know what I’m saying? So, I’m glad that it’s expanding and everybody’s starting to look at it. Big Freedia did her thing, Ha Sizzle doing they thing. I’m starting to see other people do their thing like Fly Boi Keno, FlyStar, I’m a DJ as well. I DJ and produce Bounce music.
What do you think is the future of Bounce?
The energy. Ain’t nothing like the energy and when people actually see it, they got it. They’ll be like, “I wanna learn how to do that. Show me how you roll your shoulders [and] your hips,” or something like that. They wanna learn the Peter Pan and other moves. They wanna learn how to dance and when they start dancing they get connected with themselves, and they love their self more. They feel comfortable ‘cause nobody judges.
When the DJs do your Bounce mix, it’s yours right? So the Bounce version of the same song may be different depending on the DJ?
It’s gonna be different. I’m gonna speak from when I went to Houston. One time, I had to DJ in Houston, and I would listen to the other DJs, play the Bounce music, and for some reason, they speeded up faster. I never understood why they did that. But I feel like people hear it differently. They need someone that’s from the city. You can present them with the right sound and the right speed for the understanding. When I DJ’d in Houston, they were like, “Oh my God, how you do this?” They loved it.