Freaknik was Atlanta's black spring break of the '80s and '90s. At its peak up to 250,000 people turned out for the event normally held during the third week in April. It was eventually shut down for wreaking havoc on the city.
Freaknik: The Musical is set more than 10 years after the infamous party weekend was discontinued, and features an A-List lineup of dozens of hip-hop personalities including T-Pain, Lil' Jon, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, Lil' Wayne, Kelis, and even Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg and Bill Hader.
"The joke is the white establishment killed it back in '98," said Nick Weidenfeld, Freaknik co-writer and director, program development for Adult Swim. "What would happen if just the spirit of it came back? Who better to play the ghost of Freaknik than T-Pain?"
The premise of the animated movie is that parties have become boring since Freaknik's demise, so a group of kids summon the ghost of Freaknik past to return to Atlanta to revitalize the scene.
I recently spoke to T-Pain about his the movie that was initially created as an 11-minute special.
What made you want to revisit Freaknik as a cartoon?
When [Freaknik] disappeared, it disappeared. Ain't nothing been [said] about it [anymore]. Except for the stories people got from it and how lame parties are now. The reason why I did a cartoon was because it would have been impossible to remake that in real life. It was something we wanted to touch on.
Did you approach Adult Swim after you came up with the idea?
We've been working on a bunch of stuff [with Adult Swim]. I've been doing a bunch of voiceovers. I did the Live Action Aqua Teen Hunger Force. We said that we needed to do an actual cartoon.
The list of people you have involved is impressive--Lil' Wayne, Andy Samberg, George Clinton. How long did it take to round up all these people?
Wow, that's a long time. Were the music people excited to be involved with this remembrance to Freaknik?
Yeah everyone was excited to do something. Once it turned from 11-minutes to an hour-long movie, we had to go back to all those people and say, 'We have to change every line you've done already, and then do way more than you did.' Then it started getting annoying to everybody. It started getting harder and harder to do the extra lines, rewriting the script. But we got it done.
How did the story change from an 11-minute piece to an hour?
We looked at it, and we were like, 'Man, this is too short.' I wanted to keep going. We were like, 'We should just rewrite this thing.' Then Mike Lazzo, president of Adult Swim, was like, 'Make it an hour.' My first real cartoon is an hour long? It takes a long time for these series to turn into an hour. Mine isn't even a series and it's already an hour.
It took two years. Who is the person you wanted the most for this project? And what was your reaction to getting them?
The hardest person and the person I wanted the most was Wayne. Oh God that was so hard to do because he got so much going on in his life. Once I got it that was like an achievement. It was like, 'Alright. Let's put the thing out now.' That's my dog, and he definitely did it for me.
- Adult Swim