Words by Jesse Serwer—
French Montana and Nicki Minaj’s “Freaks” is turning out to be kind of like what Kanye’s “Mercy” was last year; that high profile hip-hop song keeping dancehall on the radio and in people’s minds, as crossover success continues to elude the real thing. “Freaks” takes its inspiration from Lil Vicious and Dough E Fresh’s 1994 hip-hop x dancehall classic of the same name, sampling both that tune and the Bam Bam riddim as heard on Chaka Demus and Pliers’ “Murder She Wrote,” while Nicki and French casually sprinkle in references to dancehall (“Some a dem say dem Gully, some a dem say dem Gaza…rah”).
The video, directed by Eif Rivera, is a throwback to the big-budget, dance-driven videos of the early 2000s—think Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” or “Like Glue” —with male and female dancers flexing new and old moves (including the headtop business above). Speaking to MTV News today, French Montana—not someone we would associated with bashment prior to ‘Freaks”—expressed a belief that the video will bring “bring back the essence of the dancehall.”
Watch below, and tell us if you think French and Nicki’s dancehall tribute is on point.