Friday, September 4th, 2009

Three 6 Mafia ft. Webbie – Lil Freak

So, we’ve had six female vocalists in a row – counterbalance time! (N.B. Webbie is not the one in the middle here)…


Ian Mathers: Three 6 Mafia’s greatest talent as far as I’m concerned is being able to make me like shit that I find eye-rollingly stupid/offensive/ludicrous from other rappers. Maybe it’s the great production – I adore the dry clicking of their drums, and the surprisingly intricate/delicate little string figure plucking away in the background manages to seem both natural and inevitable for this filthy, filthy song about yet more sexual braggadocio. By the time DJ Paul’s sour growl starts up over an even more manic drum machine you’re going to be either completely revolted or strangely enchanted.

Andrew Casillas: God Bless Three 6 Mafia. Without them, how else would I test my speaker system?

Martin Kavka: Without knowing a thing about this song, I made the mistake of listening to this before going away for the holiday weekend with my boyfriend. It’s an earworm of terror. By the time Webbie comes up with “look at miss goody goody pussy,” my sex drive has vanished into thin air. Even after it comes back, I may never be able to give or receive oral sex again without hearing some spectral voice going, “I know a lil freak in in Hollywood/sucks on dick does it does it real good.” I never thought I’d say this, but damn I miss the PMRC.

Anthony Miccio: This wouldn’t be a bad soundtrack for nerdy bros miming sex (i.e. that phone conversation in Knocked Up). But jerks looking for song quotes with which to harass attractive passerby probably won’t settle for the nasal “I long do her like, mmm! mmm! mmm!” that is this track’s biggest selling point.

Al Shipley: The pizzicato strings are nice, and the signature HCP touch of the cymbal pattern changing halfway through the song is appreciated, but these guys can turn out better beats in their sleep, and probably have. Webbie always sounds exactly like a slightly less sleepy Birdman to me, and this is one of those tracks where he’s a little more animated than usual, but it hardly does him much good.

Erick Bieritz: The track is parenthetically titled “(Ugh Ugh Ugh),” but it’s actually more of a “(EHH! EHH! EHH!).” It’s hard to convey how annoying this sound is sitting at the heart of the song, and it’s worth at least a full point here. Otherwise this is Three 6 by the numbers, in a minor key with a haunted strip club beat and lots of staggered vox.

John Seroff: “Lil Freak” is 3-6 by the numbers: horrorcore pizzicato strings pinging on the offbeats of the drum presents, self-referential chorus, dark curtains of synth, window-rattling bass, fuckin’ good, drankin’ good and (one assumes, in the non-radio friendly version) smokin’ good. It’s rote post-Oscar album filler and not especially noteworthy. Webbie’s solid verse is a sad reminder of days past when Three-Six had some versatility; I miss the deep bench of Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo and the AWOL Lord Infamous. Fans of the band who would prefer something less moribund should hunt down DJ Paul’s awe-inspiring ’09 LP Scale-A-Ton or Juicy J’s less enthralling but still enjoyable Hustle Till’ I Die for proof that they’re not dead, only sleeping.

Renato Pagnani: In what type of club the funhouse goth strings and skittering percussion would encourage dancing over triggering really bad drug trips, I’m really not sure. T6M and the Webster are committed in their sexual frankness, and they certainly sound like they enjoy fornication, but this probably isn’t the best song to play if you’re trying to be, you know, romantic. I’m just sayin’: your girlfriend probably wouldn’t appreciate “Lil Freak” following a Barry White song on one of your put-her-in-the-mood mix CDs.

Additional Scores

Pete Baran: [7]
Anthony Easton: [4]
Chuck Eddy: [4]
Michaelangelo Matos: [6]
Alfred Soto: [7]

3 Responses to “Three 6 Mafia ft. Webbie – Lil Freak”

  1. Those horrorcore pizzicato strings are enough to make this a 7 for me… it’s not like they’re sleepwalking through this shit or something.

  2. I am hereby calling dibs on the phrase “Trap Going Turkey Bacon” for descriptive use of a track that’s trying to coast by on plucked strings.

  3. See, coasting by on plucked strings would be true if some bland non-talent like Flo Rida or Pitbull or whoever were rapping on this thing. Juicy J, however, simply by virtue of his staccato delivery and the way he says Hollywood (“Hollywoouuld”), is alone able to elevate this into something above flat mediocrity. Which isn’t to say that he’s never made a mediocre song, he often does, but he and Paul are too committed on this for this to be one of them.