Causes/Activism, Music, Politics/Government

Q&A: Brandan ‘B-Mike’ Odums and how the “Lemme Find Out” voting remix came about

Bounce star 5th Ward Weebie dropped a version with lyrics pushing everyone to bounce over to the polls

Published on Monday, Nov 5th, 2018

If you haven’t heard the new remix of 5th Ward Weebie’s hit “Lemme Find Out,” you should definitely hear it before Nov. 6.

The local bounce star dropped new lyrics, pushing everyone to bounce over to the polls and pay special attention to State Constitutional Amendment 2, which addresses unanimous juries. Presently, Louisiana law requires only 10 of 12 jurors to convict someone charged with a felony.

We talked to artist and activist Brandan “B-Mike” Odums, who helped coordinate the effort and get the video out in four days.

How did the idea for this come about?
“I had this idea a long time ago during the 2016 presidential election, there was an idea to do this it just didn’t come together in time. So, a friend of mine hit me up, Emile, he’s a part of a group of young folk who are trying to get people engaged around issues on social justice. So, he hits me up about doing the video, getting influencers to talk about Amendment 2, he was like, ‘You know, they’re will to support a video production around this.’ So, I was like, ‘I don’t want to just do talking heads, I had this idea a while ago’, so I pitched to him the idea about Webbie and he said that sounds dope. I’m at a point in my career where I’m not trying to ask anyone to do anything for free, so I hit Webbie up and said here’s this idea again, we can pay for the studio time and everything necessary to make this a project. He was already on board, so the timing was right. Went to the studio on Friday, recorded the song, me and some friends of mine built the set on Saturday, recorded the video on Sunday and it got released Thursday. So less than a week. We knew we were ready and against the clock. Ideally, we would have done this prior to registration ending but we knew we still had a priority to get the word out and participate in mid-term elections. We knew time was of the essence.”

For me, as a New Orleanian, when I hear that “Triggerman” beat, I pay attention. Putting it to bounce is so New Orleans. Can you talk about that?
“To be politically engaged is a conversation that should happen in many different languages and one of the most beautiful languages of New Orleans is our music and especially bounce culture. I felt like, just as well as this conversation could happen via jazz, poetry or country, or bluegrass, I felt like this conversation could definitely be had via bounce music. It just made sense. Just like you, I’m the same way. I hear that beat, I kind of get alert, you get in tune. It’s hard for you to be passive when that particular beat drops. We felt it would be cool to see how people would react to the idea of a bounce song with a call to action to go vote. When you think about it, bounce primarily is a series of directions. It’s telling you what do to, it’s telling you what to shake, it’s telling you where to go. It seemed appropriate that there would be a bounce song that gave other types of directions it would be successful. That was our goal. When we sat down we said we wanted to make something that made people pay attention. Even if they didn’t like it, even if they said, ‘Oh this is some buffoonery.’ We wanted it to still be on their lips to know this is what we’re talking about.”

Why is it important for us to get to the polls?
“There’s so many levels to respond to that. It’s a right that many people fought and died for. I think just that alone should be motivation for people to know you have to participate because for so long people fought a real fight to get that privilege and to get that opportunity to participate. So that’s one reason alone, because that’s what it means to be a part of this country — to have a voice. Two, I think, because the stakes are so high. We have to acknowledge that what happens in politics definitely impacts what happens in our communities. Sometimes I think it’s easy for us to just be passive and think, ‘Oh you know, I’m gonna let politics be politics and I’m gonna take care of the hood. I’m going to take care of mine.’ I think that attitude has been a part of our community for a long time, as if it were two separate things. I feel like it’s time for us to acknowledge and realize that what happens in politics, it definitely affects what happens in the hood. On this particular ballot, of course the most highlighted thing is Amendment 2. That’s enough for people to think it has to be on the lips of every participant, particularly every black and brown person in this city because of how disproportionately it impacts them. I think it’s just a logical thing to be a participant.”

Anything else you want to add about putting the video together?
“I definitely would like to thank all the participants, the dancers. New Orleans is a beautiful place where spontaneous things can occur, and I’ve been a part of that. The last series of projects I’ve been involved in have been deeply involved in spontaneity, and I think this is a perfect example of that. Everyone along the process, everyone that I contacted, it didn’t take much to convince them. I didn’t have to convince them at all. From the dancers to the friends that helped me produce it, I want to acknowledge that the group that put this together, they made magic. I want to give credit to 5th Ward Weebie, because I think I was surprised, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. I think sometimes we forget that it takes a certain level of sophistication and intelligence to be a creative, especially the level that 5th Ward Weebie is on. So I’m appreciative that he not only accepted this challenge, but those lyrics are his. At first, we were thinking, maybe we should get someone who is politically savvy to go into the booth with him but when I got there, his lyrics were already written and he was rehearsing and trying to figure it out and asking the proper questions about Amendment 2. I definitely want to showcase and acknowledge the fact that our artists are empathetic and intelligent individuals that understand there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. So, I thank Weebie for stepping up to that challenge and using his platform and his hit song. It means a lot that we were basically able to borrow this song for this purpose when it already has so many great accolades on its own. He didn’t need to do this.”

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