Who says Waka can’t get his paper up and stay all the way turnt up?
Waka Flocka Flame has only one rule: Do whatever you want to do. It’s what he tells a hired videographer on the set of the music video shoot for “I Don’t Really Care,” the Trey Songz–assisted second single from his sophomore album, Triple F Life: Fans, Friends, and Family. The videographer, who’s trying to capture behind-the-scenes footage as part of Warner Bros’ Waka marketing blitz, wants to know if it would be OK to record the six-foot-four rapper getting his dreads touched up before shooting the first scene?
The question arises because—before sitting down with his two-person hair team—Waka went on a minute-long rant about how he’s not really the kind of dude who gets his hair “dipped up.” He’d rather rock out with it the way it is. But, alas, this is show business, and Waka relents. Still, he tells the videographer: “If you want to slap a girl’s ass, Do it. Do whatever you want.”
It’s a chilly spring night at this warehouse on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. If it wasn’t for the faint but persistent smell of weed, the police squad cars circling the block like buzzards, and the parade of tour buses blocking traffic so they can fit like Tetris blocks into the parking lot, you wouldn’t know that one of the world’s biggest rap stars is gearing up to shoot a music video. But here he is—white Tee’d, dreadlocked, and ready to work.
After his hair is right, it’s time for wardrobe. Waka and his 1017 Bricksquad crew—consisting of his road manager and assistants, his brother Wooh Da Kid, producer Southside, and rapper B-Hoody—move into a larger space that’s been transformed into a sort of green room/dressing room for the night.
His stylist and her assistant have all the outfits for the video ready, hanging on a chrome clothing rack beside a wooden table that holds an array of expensive European sneakers. A pink-and-black silk cardigan anchors the first ensemble presented to Waka. It looks like Versace—something Rick Ross or Tyga might wear. Waka pauses, looks at his stylist, and shakes his head. “Nah, I ain’t doing this,” he says.
His stylist tries to reassure him that this is what’s cool now, and besides, the first set-up is being shot in front of a black seamless backdrop. He needs to wear something that will “pop.” Waka won’t hear any of it. “This shit is a hell no,” he says.
The wardrobe standoff brings the shoot, already running behind schedule, to a standstill. A decision needs to be made quickly. For what seems like the fifth time in an hour, a producer comes into the dressing room to tell Waka he’s needed on set immediately. Ignoring his pleas, Waka concentrates on the wardrobe rack.
The producer tries again, telling Waka that he needs to be on set in 15 minutes. Snapping out of his silk-cardigan daze, Waka focuses his attention/anger on the producer—who’s really just trying to do his job. “Aye, bruh,” Waka says to all in attendance. “Someone tell this man to get the fuck out of here before something happens to him.” The room falls silent and everyone turns to look at the producer. Befuddled, and no doubt slightly nervous, he retreats back to the set.
Before sitting down with his two-person hair team—Waka went on a minute-long rant about how he’s not really the kind of dude who gets his hair 'dipped up.' He’d rather rock out with it the way it is. But, alas, this is show business, and Waka relents.
The room remains quiet as everyone waits for Waka to cool down. The videographer asks whether he should stop recording. “Hell yeah, motherfucker,” Waka snarls. “What you think?” The videographer puts the camera down and takes a step back as Waka lets out a laugh. “Nah, I’m just fucking with you,” he says, breaking the tension.
The mood in the dressing room is once again light. Waka returns to going through clothes with his stylist and settles on a white leather vest with BSM—signifying his crew, 1017 Brick Squad Monopoly—emblazoned on the front and back. He throws this on over a black T-shirt and dark denim and makes his way to set.
Halfway through the first set-up—a black seamless with light flashing every which way—the crowd that was once intensely focused on Waka’s performance turns around. Even Waka himself briefly loses focus. Trey Songz has arrived. After the end of his take, Waka walks through the crowd excitedly to dap the multi-platinum R&B star. They compliment each other’s jewelry and Trey soon joins Waka on camera.
Contrary to what MTV’s Making the Video might have you believe, making music videos is a long, arduous, and altogether boring process. If you’re not actually working on the video, you’ll find yourself sitting around bullshitting, waiting for the producers to call lunch. Of course things can be more eventful with an artist as popular as Waka. You’re likely to see a couple stars pass by to say what up and show respect.
Tonight, Houston, Texas’ own Trae Tha Truth comes through with his son, and Young Money’s Lil Chuckee hangs around for the most of the shoot. But the biggest star to grace the soundstage is Waka’s mentor, close friend, and labelmate Gucci Mane.