For New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia, the past few years have been a whirlwind. After years of grinding in the music industry, Freedia received some mainstream recognition, being featured in the music videos for massive music videos like Beyoncé’s “Formation” and Drake’s “In My Feelings.”
At Monday night’s (Aug. 20) MTV Video Music Awards, the rapper’s voice was featured in yet another massive project; during Jennifer Lopez’s show-stopping performance at the award ceremony, Freedia’s voice could be heard in the background spitting the opening line to a remix of Drake’s “Nice For What,” saying, “I wanna know who mothafuckin’ representin’ in here tonight.”
In an exclusive statement to Billboard, Freedia says that she was honored to be included in JLo’s legendary performance at the VMAs. “JLo is the queen and was lit at the VMAs,” she says. “I’m always honored to see my music and New Orleans Bounce make its way into mainstream culture.”
But the “Rent” rapper says that she had not received word from JLo or MTV about their intention to use her voice during the performance, which she found disconcerting. “I had no idea about it and saw it as it was happening, like everyone else,” she says. “Would have been nice for MTV to have given me or my team a heads-up beforehand.”
This isn’t the first time that Freedia has spoken publicly about getting a lack of recognition on major projects. Earlier this year, Freedia commented on the fact that she felt she was snubbed in Drake’s “Nice For What” video, where her voice was used, but not her face. “People want to use bounce music as a part of their music but when it comes to the proper recognition of me being in the video, that’s something that we’re steady working towards to make it happen,” she told The Fader.
But it may have worked out for Freedia in the end — after making her comments and speaking to Drake on the phone, the New Orleans star made an appearance in his video for “In My Feelings,” where the rapper can be seen spitting bars in a nightclub.
In the meantime, Freedia is preparing for her upcoming fall tour with fellow New Orleans soul artists Tank and the Bangas, along with promoting her new single “Karaoke” featuring hip hop superstar Lizzo.
Watch Jennifer Lopez’s full performance at the 2018 VMAs below.