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.
Mr. Cheeks was in the legendary Jamaica, Queens ’90s rap group (who’ve recently reformed) The Lost Boyz. Featuring members Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou, the crew had a series of hits off their debut album Legal Drug Money, including “Jeeps, Lex Coupes, Bimaz & Benz.” After their second album, Freaky Tah was murdered by a gunshot to the head at 27 in 1999. The group released one more album before dissovling, and Mr. Cheeks embarked on a solo career. He had one hit on the Billboard Top 40.
“Lights, Camera, Action!” hit number 1 on the Hot Rap Chart and #14 on the Hot 100 in 2001. It’s mostly notable for being sort of a bellwether at the time, when Virginia producer Bink was producing a grip of East Coast rap tracks and it just wasn’t that hard to score a big hit. Mr. Cheeks was a known commodity, with a jiggy beat and a chorus half stolen from “Ms. Jackson.”
The video is similarly basic and great. It takes place in a nightclub/stripclub hybrid where Cheeks’ presence sends all the strippers who were in the locker room straight to the stage. There’s slo-mo scenes of Cheeks walking through the club, women shaking in halter tops and room of mirrors and lights, all making up the prototypical early-’00s rap video. Besides the flashing lights and the bouncing disco production, the best nostalgia is the fashion. Everyone’s got Timbs on, Marcus Camby and Kobe Bryant not-yet-throwbacks with some Girbaud jean shorts, plus all the accesories – New Era fitteds over dreads, a headwrap made out of a shirt and a bowler hat as well as various arm accouterments like a wrist wrapped bandana, sweatbands and a single baseball glove. Lemme go find my Fubu jersey.