Girl Talk just destroyed both of his Coachella sets. Performing just ahead of the much hyped Outkast reunion on Coachella’s main stage, Girl Talk brought out various special guests including Tyga, Busta Rhymes, Too Short, and E-40, just to name a few. However, the most special of guests was Freeway, who recently dropped a collaborative album with Girl Talk titled Broken Ankles, as well as a stellar music video for the single, “Tolerated.”
Broken Ankles is easily the most unexpected project to drop this year. Not only that, it’s absolute fire. How were Girl Talk and Freeway able to create one of the most compelling mixtapes of the year? We spoke with both artists to find out how the duo connected, the recording process for Broken Ankles, and a the possibility of a tour in the near future.
Mass Appeal: How did this collaborative project come about?
Girl Talk: Last year was the first year in six years that I didn’t play over 100-200 shows. So, I had a little time off from the road. I was sitting there and I was really interested in working with samples and making beats. I had an idea to do a mixtape with someone, something that was in between a rap tape and one of my albums.
One thing with my normal albums, and with this, I wanted it to be a varied sound. I wanted it to be all over the map as far as the mood goes. Even just the style of production. I didn’t want to crank out a normal mixtape. I wanted to do something different and I needed someone who wanted that opportunity.
Mass Appeal: Why approach Freeway for Broken Ankles as opposed to other emcees?
Girl Talk: I was kind of considering a few newer guys and I was thinking a lot of the times the newer artists are still trying to establish their sound. Freeway seemed like such a perfect pick because he has incredible energy. I knew he would match the energy of the production and some of the stuff I’m known for. Also, he sounds good on all types of beats.
On a personal level, once I got on the phone with him and started talking to him a little bit more I was really happy. He’s a little bit more open minded, and he was eager to go somewhere new.
Mass Appeal: What was the difference between working with Girl Talk, someone who’s in a completely different genre, than say Just Blaze?
Freeway: Well, for me I like working with producers period. Once I dig in and get in the zone, as long as the production is good, it’s pretty cool. Girl Talk had a lot of input on a lot of the records. I might have done a verse or a song and he was like, “Yo, how do you feel about going back in,” and stuff like that. Just to make it a little better. He was very hands on with the project, more so than when I did the stuff for Just Blaze. With that I just went in and did me. With Girl Talk we were sitting there together and coming up with everything together. I like when people push me to do better.
Mass Appeal: Were you a fan of Girl Talk’s music before you started working on this project?
Freeway: I heard a couple of his mixes before, but I wasn’t too much up on it. My mans Amir brought it to the table and said he [Girl Talk] wanted to work with us. Once he started sending the production over I was really excited. I think he sent me like 100 beats and I just started going through them, coming up with concepts for tracks. It was pretty exciting.
Mass Appeal: Are the six tracks from that initial 100 Girl Talk sent?
Freeway: Yeah, they are. We probably cut 30 records. The six tracks are just the ones that all fit together and sounded like a marriage. We still got a bunch of records. We probably going to use a couple of them for my next solo album, Girl Talk might use a couple of them, we might do a whole other project. We got a bunch of material.
Mass Appeal: If you guys made 30 tracks for this why go with only six?
Girl Talk: With me, anything I put out I love to just be one hundred percent with it. I don’t want there to even be ten seconds of the album that I’m not into. If I’m suspect about it then I just won’t deal with it.
Even out of the six we put out, which I’m really confident in, there were other ones that I liked just as much as those, but it felt like maybe we don’t need another song like this. I wanted the tempo of everything to sort of flow in a particular way so if it didn’t fit, it didn’t fit.
Mass Appeal: What’s your favorite beat on the tape?
Freeway: I like the last one, “Lived It,” it’s soulful. That’s one of those beats where I just heard it, knew exactly what I wanted to do to it, and I just went in on it. I don’t think it strays to far away from what I normally do.
Mass Appeal: What’s your favorite song on the album lyrically?
Girl Talk: Both lyrically, and just overall song, it would be the last song “Lived It.” That’s the one where he’s definitely the most open, it’s the most autobiographical, and sometimes songs like that, where you kind of bear your soul, you gotta walk that line. It can be a little embarrassing and you don’t want to be to cliche about it, but he just kept it so real.
Mass Appeal: You performed right before Outkast at Coachella, what was the buildup like before their show?
Girl Talk: I’m a huge fan and basically everyone I’ve worked with is a huge fan as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been so honored for a slot. I’ve played so many festivals with so many bands I’ve loved but this was different. It’s hard to even articulate the feeling – I was incredibly nervous. I get nervous before every show but I think going into this one it was on a different level.
The feeling was very different backstage, too. We were all like, how the hell did we get here?
Mass Appeal: Now that you guys killed Coachella, is there a Broken Ankles tour in the works?
Freeway: Oh yeah, we’re definitely trying to put that together. We did Coachella on April 18 and we’re having talks about doing a Broken Ankles tour. So hopefully we can work that out.
Download Broken Ankles here