Nicky Da B, Queer Rap Pioneer, Dies at 24
By Stacy Lambe
Gay New Orleans bounce rap artist, Nickesse Toney better known as Nicky Da B, has passed away at the age at 24. While his management confirmed the news, the details of his death remain unknown at this time.
“It is with heaviness in our hearts today that we confirm the passing of Nicky Da B,” His management said in a statement. “Nicky was a beautiful soul and we will always be grateful for his magnetic personality and loving spirit. We were inspired by his talent as much as his tireless optimism, compassion and humility. Our condolences go out to his family at this time.”
The bounce artist was most famous for his vocals on the Diplo-produced record, “Express Yourself.” The 2012 song became an underground hit thanks to its twerk-heavy video, which helped popularize the dance move.
Toney — a New Orleans native from the 17th ward — also released his own album, Please Don’t Forget da B, in the same year following the exploratory nature of Louisiana rap under the guidance of Big Freedia. He even performed for a sold-out audience at the Sydney Opera House.
“I’m a part of this generation of bounce," Toney told Rolling Stone in 2012. "I’m more influenced by techno and pop and stuff like that, versus [the older generation], who are more influenced by rap and R&B. There’s still people that’s comin' out in my time and they still rap like [iconic New Orleans artists] Magnolia Shorty or Ms. Tee or Cheeky Blakk and stuff like that.”
While he never reach mainstream success in terms of topping the Billboard Hot 100, the rapper did attract fans among the likes of Diplo and Details, which dubbed him one of hip-hop’s queer pioneers, as well as a massive internet following thanks to the GIF-ready video for “Go Loko.”
As many fans speculate about the cause of death, Toney will be remembered for his unique flow and twerk-friendly style. “I’m more different than they are,” Toney said in the same RS interview.
However, as wildly different (and addictive) as Nicky Da B was, his amped-up mentality was all for the stage. "It's a Sasha Fierce/Beyoncé thing! Nicky Da B is a wacky character who screams and likes to be the center of attention,” he told Details. “My regular persona is a chill little gay dude who likes video games and rarely goes to clubs. I'd rather go out to eat.”
Sadly, we'll never see that persona on stage again.