Top 10 Foxy Brown Songs
Brooklyn had never seen an emcee quite like Foxy Brown before her 1996 debut. She was a rough and tumbling, sex and money-driven 16-year-old girl who'd already made her mark on a legend's remixed track.
The most obvious comparisons came quickly. She was scantily clad like Junior Mafia's Lil' Kim and a lot of her lyrical content was similar to Kim's, above all, she was to Jay-Z what Kim was to Biggie. For those who weren't paying close enough attention, the Brown Fox was a carbon copy of Lil' Kim.
For those actually listening though, Foxy was distinctly different. Her bars were easily diverse -- even the ones she didn't pen seemed to fit her effortlessly because her flow was incomparable. As the years went on -- from her first studio LP, 'Ill Na Na,' to her third, 'Broken Silence,' Fox Boogie matured tremendously. She let her guard down for the world to see. Not an easy task for any rapper -- much less a woman -- in an industry that shuns vulnerability.
Her rhymes went from name-dropping fashion houses to prayers for redemption in a matter of years. Foxy Brown had layers beyond sex appeal and her catalog is confirmation of that fact. Here, TheDrop.fm highlights the Top 10 Foxy Brown Songs that show her maturation from being the 'Ill Na Na' to breaking her silence.
When Brooklyn's Foxy Brown released her second LP, 'Chyna Doll,' in 1999, she was a certified superstar on the rap scene. Her calling card was her ability to switch between sex kitten and asexual flame-spitter. The album cut '4, 5, 6' proved to be another opportunity for the Brown Fox to shine as an emcee without resorting to all sex talk. In the dice game Cee-Lo, rolling a "4, 5, 6" is an automatic win. That's exactly what Foxy achieves here.
Foxy has always been proud of her Trinidadian heritage, but in 2001, she sprinkled her island roots throughout her third album, 'Broken Silence.' It was a welcome change to her sound and Foxy sounded more at ease here than ever. On the single 'Tables Will Turn,' she joined forces with dancehall's Baby Cham to give the streets a reggae-tinged party anthem. Her already-aggressive growl intensified over a bouncy riddim. Foxy Brown rides the beat with no problems.
In 1996, 17-year-old Foxy Brown made her Def Jam debut with the LP 'Ill Na Na.' The title track featured a looped sample of the Commodores' 'Brick House,' and an appearance from Method Man on the hook. The new artist held her own on the song, spitting ambitious lyrics with the assurance of a veteran emcee. She raps, "Nas ruled the world / But now it's my year / From here on I solemnly swear / To hold my own like Pee Wee in the movie theater."
Within five years of her debut album, Foxy Brown had become more known for her bratty spazz-outs than for her rhyme skills. In 2001, she used her 'Broken Silence' LP to vent about her struggles. At the start of the title track, Fox Boogie quotes from Psalms 27: "When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell." Over an interpolation of Mr. Mister's 'Broken Wings,' she breaks down her bad behavior and pleads for the public's compassion.
The lead single from Fox Boogie's 'Broken Silence' featured the emcee tapping into her island background once again. The track shows authenticity in sampling '54-46 That's My Number' by ska's Toots & the Maytals -- a song that was originally released in the late 1960s. If that wasn't enough of a nod to her roots, then the inclusion of her then-boyfriend, dancehall superstar Spragga Benz surely was. On 'Oh Yeah,' Foxy does her signature boasting while cruising over the reggae-influenced production.
'BK Anthem' is the quintessential East Coast rap track -- gritty production with a persistent thump and bars that detail day-to-day dealings in the roughest neighborhoods with a sort of twisted pride. But pride nonetheless. Here, Foxy exhibits unshakable confidence that only comes with giving your hometown a shout. She raps, "Lemme tell you where I grew up at / Sipped Mo' / Threw up at / Flipped coke / Blew up at / Where them fake thugs got they vests chewed up at / Brooklyn / Beef? / Who want that?"
When 17-year-old Foxy dropped 'I'll Be,' the hip-hop industry had to take notice. The track was the rapper's second single from her debut LP and it immediately caught fire on urban radio. 'I'll Be' was inescapable in 1997 and Jay-Z's guest appearance only helped in its popularity. Though the content was a bit raunchy -- particularly for a teenager -- the track was infectious and ultimately fun to bounce to. To make 'I'll Be' a single was a no-brainer for Def Jam execs, as Jay raps on the hook, "Straight out the gate y'all, we drop hits / Now tell me, how nasty can you get."
Foxy started her career off right with some of the best features on her debut LP. On 'Get Me Home,' the R&B group Blackstreet makes an appearance. In addition to strong assists, she had a solid mentor in Mr. Shawn Carter, which meant she was gifted with some of the best bars as well. According to the liner notes, Fox Boogie didn't do any writing on her lead single 'Get Me Home,' but she recited Jay's rhymes with enough ease where it sounded believable and made 'Get Me Home' one of her biggest hits.
The third single from Foxy Brown's 'Ill Nana' implemented her infallible formula for success at that time -- danceable production, a strong feature and a little help from Jay on the writing. The Brown Fox was set in 1997. The song was also featured on the soundtrack for the movie 'How to Be a Player,' subsequently pushed Foxy even further into the spotlight.
Before 'Ill Na Na' and 'Big Bad Mamma,' Foxy Brown proved she could hang with the big dogs on LL Cool J's 'I Shot Ya (Remix).' The then-16-year-old stole the show with her untouchable flow on the grimy track. Followers of the rap genre seemed to collectively ask "Who's the teenage boy at the end of the LL joint?" On the second or third listen though, it's clear that Foxy was all woman, giving details -- in her huskiest voice -- on how pretty girls could take advantage of silly men with disposable cash. Foxy's appearance on 'I Shot Ya' was her way of forcing entry into the rap game.