The oral history of Freaknik, minus Uncle Luke’s freaky tales

The only event that defined 1990s Atlanta more than the Olympics still gets a bad rap


If anybody has a closet-full of freaky Freaknik tales, it’s gotta be Uncle Luke. It’s probably no coincidence that Atlanta’s salacious black spring break street parties of the ’90s happened to overlap with Luke’s run as a solo artist. Between 1990 and 1997, he dropped six albums, including his second LP, I Got Shit On My Mind, released in Nov. 1992 just months before Freaknik’s word-of-mouth exposure truly broke nationwide.

But if you really want to get an idea what Freaknik’s early years were like, you might be better served to rewind a couple of old Luke songs like “I Wanna Rock” or “Head, Head and More Head” (both from I Got Shit On My Mind) than to read his quote’s from Complex’s “Oral History of Freaknik.”

While the writer does an admirable job of getting people such as ’90s R&B freak Adina Howard to drag some of their Freaknik skeletons out of the closet, Complex ultimately proves that what happened at Freaknik - before the age of cellphone cameras and Instagram - remains forever dead and buried. Even ol’ Uncle Luke, recent Miami mayoral candidate that he is, kept it PC:

My most memorable experience is when we did a big concert in Piedmont Park. Everybody was there. Goodie Mob, the whole Dungeon Family, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri. It was a big major concert in the park. That was probably one of my most memorable events.

Yeah, right. If you believe that was Luther Campbell’s most memorable Freaknik experience, I’ve got a hot pair of 2 Live Crew reunion show tix to sell you.

Hedonism aside, the Complex piece does a great job of capturing the political environment that brewed around Freaknik as it evolved/devolved from black college party to misogynistic free-for-all attended by more people who probably couldn’t spell “college” than actual students.

City Councilman Derrick Boazman recalls how then-Mayor Bill Campbell was torn between supporting a black event that grew from positive origins and respecting the requests of mostly white citizens who grew tired of surrendering their neighborhoods to the annual spring break wild-out: