Hip Hop is nuts these days. Most of our favorite rappers’ lives read like exaggerated urban soap operas, and through their highs and lows, we get to selfishly enjoy the fruits of their daily grind. For female emcees, it’s honestly hard to name one that hasn’t been involved in a public court case these last few years, but none were quite as 730 as Foxy Brown. After doing time in prison, being shelved and eventually leaving Def Jam records, losing and regaining her hearing, and making the Daily News for the most outlandish behavior consistently for the past two years, Fox Boogie returns to rap with Brooklyn’s Don Diva, and attempts to give New York hip hop a much needed shot in the arm.
Lyrically, Fox steps out in rare form, stating her position clearly on her relevance in the game on tracks like “We Don’t Surrender” featuring Grafh and “Never Heard This Before” where Foxy spits:
“I been through Def Jam, I made Jay hot/ I ran through the Firm, nigga I ain’t stop/ I been around Puff and helped him make it to the top/ I been a legend, I been around the greatest/ Been on the biggest tours, I been around them stages/ Still caught charges, I’m beatin all them cases/Faster than dice spinnin’ round in Vegas/ I can go from chillin’ wit my family/ To fightin’ in the projects to sittin’ at the Grammy’s/ All in one day.”
Another notable tracks is the collaboration with AZ over a classic “One Way” sample. “Too Real” reunites the two Firm members for a personal conversation about Foxy‘s current situations, where AZ drops lines like: “We never got a chance to build/ Wit all the bullshit, somebody shoulda told you to chill/ Shit and still, so many rappers lost they mind/ Like 25 to life never crossed they mind”.
The honesty of this song in particular could convert even the biggest Foxy Brown hater to a moment of understanding. She continues to go hard on “Star Cry” and “How We Get Down”, in which she opens the song by shouting out her Blackhand Entertainment family before Grafh, Foxy and Prinz bang out those good old fashioned BKNY mandatory murder verses.
As usual, the dancehall influence is felt heavy in Foxy‘s music; on “The Quan” featuring Lady Saw, and the hands-down winner as the cheated-on-spouse-anthem “Why?” that pulses over a reggae-inspired bass line and extra fly guitar sample. Unfortunately, auto-tune rears its ugly head on “We’re On Fire” featuring Mavado, which only adds to the trash-hook syndrome which appears to be affecting even the best lyricists these days. It gets even worse on the Lil’ Mo assisted “Bulletproof Love/One Love”. If you feel like you’re having a serious case of déjà vu while listening to the LP, you’re not trippin. Some of the lyrics on “We Set The Pace” are the same bars from the earlier track titled “Never Heard This Before”. I guess she felt we needed to hear some shit again.
Overall, Foxy Brown‘s new project is definitely worth the purchase for existing fans, and even has the power to convert non-believers to the side of Brooklyn’s Don Diva. Welcome home, Fox.