Big Freedia Talks Working With Beyoncé On “Formation”

“I was very gracious and appreciative that the queen called the other queen to come do something on her track.”

February 08, 2016

In the middle section of Beyoncé's new track "Formation," New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia booms out, I did not come to play with you hoes and then lets out her iconic cackle. Freedia's interlude—which comes alongside an intro from fallen legend Messy Mya—is a moment of sweeping joy in a song already filled with bold statements and self pride.


Freedia is expectedly overjoyed that the whole thing came together the way that it did. Speaking to The FADER on the phone Monday just before making an appearance on CNN, she said that she and Beyoncé kept in contact after meeting at a birthday party for Tina Knowles-Lawson in New Orleans last year. Below, Freedia explains how her appearance on "Formation" came together, and how she thinks bounce music will grow in 2016.


How did this all come about?

I got a call from Beyoncé's publicist. They said that Bey wanted to talk to me, and then she explained exactly what she wanted me to do on the song. She gave me a little history of the song and I just lost it. I dropped dead in my own skin when she called. I was just literally at home losing it, not knowing exactly what I'm going to do when I got to the studio. I was just excited for the call and I was very gracious and appreciative that the queen called the other queen to come do something on her track. It was just a blessing and I was just overwhelmed and still am.

With your lines on the song, were you given direction from her at all?


Yes, definitely. That's why she called me to give me directions and backstory. It was very interesting and the most exciting phone call I've ever gotten in a long time. I was very happy.

News outlets are picking up that Certain people feel that the song is anti-police. Do you have any thoughts on that? The video features a shot where she's sitting on top of that New Orleans cop car that sinks.

That's about creativity and coming up with a new style. She may not even knew about it until the director or whoever had put it together. There's not much I can say on that.


Your show is still the highest-rated show on Fuse, and now this song has made bounce music even more visible. Does bounce being in mainstream pop culture change the music at all?

Oh yeah, definitely. I think that it definitely will change it to a certain extent. I also would have those songs that will stay original to the roots, the core of bounce music. Just like the new song that came out with Missy Elliot is a New Orleans-feel song, a bounce-inspired song. The bigger artists are definitely looking and paying attention to the culture and the style of bounce music.

Your line in the song references corn bread and collard greens. What are the best places for those two things in New Orleans?

You would have to taste Big Freedia's edition of them. Definitely.

Big Freedia talks to The FADER, in 2009:
Big Freedia Talks Working With Beyoncé On “Formation”