Review Summary: Great concept...peculiar execution.
While the one hour show that Freaknik: The Musical Soundtrack
pulls from was largely a comedy based on a small-town hip-hop group’s wild quest to achieve fame through a made rapper’s up-and-coming contest; the EP is largely a parody on mainstream hip-hop culture. Although witty, widely accurate, and enjoyable, the performers of the concept can come off as a bit of a pet from tail to head. That is, the people who appear on the soundtrack and are mocking hip-hop culture are the very figures who establish and enforce the targeted customs.
Perhaps the greatest representation of the mentality Freaknik…
portrays is the pseudo-metaphor found on “We The Mob.” The instrumental samples gunshots, and lyrically transitions from recanting of hardships to outrageous braggadocio,
“See me dog/I’m tryna be on MTV dog/But I ain't paid rent and haven't ate in weeks dog/Sweet Tea Mob, we the hardest y'all soft/But it's hard to write songs when a nigga's lights off/I'm Big Virgil, that's Light Skin, that's Big Uzi/We become rap stars we starrin' in all the movies/I’ll have a mansion in the Hamptons by P. Diddy/Five hundred million copies, laughin’ at that nigga Fiddy/I’ll be so big all my cars will be new ones/If I feel like it I might buy a couple humans.
Although this is possibly an allegory that alludes to rappers abandoning their roots in the midst of fame and wealth while retaining the thug posturing, this isn’t the only issue T-Pain & Co. takes aim at. Amongst other things, the stereotype of effeminate drink preference is assailed (Freaknik’s favorite liquor is blueberry vodka) and the attitude towards women is addressed (Freaknik talks about saving strippers from their terrible lives, then returns to the “b*tch*s is hoes” attitude.)
But not only are lyrics parodied, the instrumentals are too. How could this album ever be complete without the unnecessarily overbearing bass and generically erratic horn loops of “Freaknik Is Back”? How about the hailing horns and sharp snares of the faux-epic “Ghetto Commandments”? Or the bland, typical R&B/Pop club fusion of “Save You”?
On the other hand, there’s something that swilled around in the back of my mind while I listened to Freaknik…
Through the duration of my listens, I mulled over the fact that the performing artists were T-Pain, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Mack Maine, and Young Cash. Admittedly, T-Pain largely keeps the autotune levels to a minimum, and the other artists do serviceable jobs. But for a parody of mainstream hip-hop, BY mainstream hip-hop artists is just confusing. It either, A) enforces everything they’ve said in a rather genius manner, or B) makes them idiots and the album less enjoyable. Whether that fact results in conclusion A or B is rather irrelevant. Regardless, it’s something that shouldn’t have to be thought about, and only creates unnecessary confusion.
Supported by moderate wittiness, detailed accurateness, and infectious pop-iness, Freaknik…
is a good listen if not for the Dadaist value and humorous experienced. Sadly, it’s heavily beleaguered by a peculiar performers lineup, and it sure as HELL isn’t as good as the show it pulls from. Check out the soundtrack and the show, but more importantly, the show.