Froback Friday is a weekly feature of a music video from the platinum age of hip hop. 1998-2003, when rap was truly crossing over into the mainstream and I was regularly attending middle school dances.
I took a bus straight from my last junior high class of the day to Downtown Plaza with some friends to see a Keanu Reeves movie one chilly fall afternoon. This would be the day I both developed a crush on a young, talented actress named Diane Lane and (spoiler alert!) cried my eyes out when G-Baby died. Not to be confused with the slain rapper of the same name singed to Memphis Bleek’s record label, G-Baby was the youngest character in the movie Hardball, and I bought the soundtrack from Sam Goody, that movie fucked me up so much.
It was released on So So Def Records and had the usual cast of characters, plus songs by R. Kelly, Xscape and Mobb Deep. It also included “Big Poppa,” a remix to “Where the Party At?” and the single “Hardball,” featuring a bunch of Lil’s. There’s Lil’ Bow Wow, Lil Wayne, Lil’ Zane1 and Sammie, who had the 1999 hit “I Like It” and probably should’ve put a “Lil” in front of his name.
The Lil’s are a baseball team led by Jermaine Durpri, who are matched up against a team that makes all these diminutive rappers look downright little. Cash Money’s Birdman plays the rich friend who buys the team new uniforms like in the movie, and luckily G-Baby is alive and well for the video. Bow Wow smacks a home run into the raucous crowd, Zane hits a line drive destroying everything in its path like a Korn video, and Sammie strikes out the side using a Backyard Baseball corkscrew. Last up is Wayne, who was playing outfield while on his cellular phone. He ends the game by cracking the ball into the stratosphere, only returning to Earth after being stamped by various countries like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. They’re going to the ‘ship.