T-Pain revives Freaknik for cartoon musical
By Connor McKnight
NEW YORK (Billboard) - As T-Pain wraps up work on a new Nappy Boy All Stars mix tape and his latest album, "RevolveR," fans can anticipate the release of an entirely different kind of project from the Auto-Tuned rapper/producer.
"Freaknik: The Musical" is an hourlong cartoon special that will air Sunday (March 7) on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late-night block that features programing geared toward mature audiences.
The show will center on the revival of a wild and frequently riotous music festival that took place in Atlanta from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. Creator and co-producer T-Pain said the special cashes in on favors to feature an all-star voiceover cast that includes Rick Ross, Young Cash, Snoop Dogg, Sophia Fresh, Lil Wayne and Charlie Murphy. T-Pain will star in the Dickensian-spoof role of the Ghost of Freaknik past.
"There's so many more dimensions you can cover in a cartoon," T-Pain told Billboard.com. "You don't really have to deal with any actors; you don't have to get locations or set times. You can just express more ... and it's funny as hell," he said.
Though T-Pain half-jokingly clarified that "it's not 'Sweeney Todd' or anything," the show will feature "a whole lot of music" not only from T-Pain but by Rick Ross, Young Cash and Sophia Fresh.
T-Pain also took time to address wide-spread rumors that soon-to-be-incarcerated rapper Lil Wayne will be playing Jesus Christ in the show. "It's definitely not Jesus," he said with a laugh of Lil Wayne's role. "His name is Tramp Jesus, so he's like the messiah of the dope spot, but when people hear 'Jesus' ... well, you know."
As to whether the show might reignite interest in the actual Freaknik event, T-Pain said, "I think it's already in the talks, so I don't know if I did that or not."
Though the rapper wasn't old enough to attend the Georgia event, he remembers watching video brought home by his brother. The Florida native was quick to add that while Freaknik may be great for the cartoon world, it's probably not the best idea in actuality. The yearly event, which was never fully sanctioned by the city of Atlanta, was ended by authorities in 1999 because of a history of public disturbances and traffic problems.
T-Pain also shed some light on the progress of his latest album "RevolveR," which has wrapped recording and is now in its mixing and mastering phase. The album, which T-Pain said should be out in April, will feature less in the way of collaboration than some of his previous releases; its pared-down list of collaborators includes Busta Rhymes and Flo Rida.
"I tried to keep it light this time because a lot of people were saying my other albums were only as good as they were because of the (guest) features," he said. "So I'm gonna try to run the test on it this time."
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