Foxy Brown. Just the name has enough power to stir up conversation. And through all the talk, the now 25-year old female has maintained her cool, sitting back quietly waiting for the right moment to release. And now it was time, Foxy Brown broke her silence.
Taking her stage name from the sexy, gritty Pam Grier character of 1970s blaxploitation cinema, hip-hop artist Foxy Brown has attained unprecedented success on the strength of her considerable talents and charisma.
Born Inga Marchand on September 6, 1979, Foxy Brown was raised in the
Brooklyn, New York community of Park Slope. Before she won a local talent
competition in 1994, she had given only passing consideration to a full-fledged career
in music. A subsequent invitation to freestyle on stage, however, brought young
Foxy to the attention of hip-hop producers Trackmasters, who were working on LL Cool J's Mr. Smith LP. A guest appearance on "I Shot Ya," a B-side single from the 1995 album, marks Brown's first commercial credit. Before releasing any material of her own, Foxy appeared on several other 1995-1996 platinum and gold singles, including Case's "Touch Me, Tease Me," Jay-Z's "Ain't No…," Total's "No One Else," and Toni Braxton's remix of "You're Makin' Me High." The impressive string of hits sparked a recording company bidding war in early 1996, and by March, Foxy Brown had signed with
premier hip-hop label Def Jam Records.
Working with heavyweight producers Trackmasters and fellow artists
Blackstreet, Havoc, Jay-Z, Kid Capri, and Method Man, sixteen-year-old Brown
began work on her first solo album, Ill Na Na , which was released in
late 1996 just after her seventeenth birthday. Buoyed by the smash lead single
"Get Me Home," the album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 sales chart,
and would eventually go on to sell more than two million copies, earning platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In 1997, Foxy Brown joined Nas, AZ,
and Nature to form hip-hop supergroup The Firm. Under the guidance of producers
Dr. Dre and Trackmasters, the group recorded its debut,
The Firm: The Album , which was released in October. Having appealed
to Nas and Brown's considerable fan bases, the album debuted at number one
on Billboard charts, selling more than 200,000 copies in its first week.
Though it eventually attained platinum sales, the over-hyped and critically
lambasted album never spawned a hit single and to some the album was considered a failure, possibly because in 1997 the Hip Hop world wasn't ready for East and West to be working together especially after the deaths of the Notorious BIG and Tu Pac. Later, Personal and creative differences divided the group. Nas the father, became more worried about the albums profits, rather than the sucess of the group. This caused both Nas and
Foxy Brown's return to their successful solo careers.
Foxy reemerged in January
1999 with the release of her second album, Chyna Doll , which
featured appearances by DMX, Mya, Total, and Jay-Z. The album also included the hit's Hot Spot and I Can't.After selling nearly 180,000 copies in its first week, Chyna Doll debuted at the top of the album charts claiming the number one spot, she was the first in history for a female rap artist. At the time, Foxy Brown was the youngest artist to ever debut at number one. The album went on to sell in excess of 1.5 million copies, earning Brown yet another platinum certification from the RIAA.
In the years that followed, Foxy made guest appearances on several singles, such as Sisqo's "Thong Song" remix, and most notably, CNN's "Bang Bang."
During this time, she also pursued a modeling career, landing campaigns with
Calvin Klein and Christian Dior, among others. On July 17, 2001, Foxy Brown
released her third solo album, Broken Silence , after a yearlong delay.
The critically acclaimed album debuted at number five on the Billboard charts,
selling more than 130,000 in its first week. The album was certified gold with
sales approaching one million copies. On the third LP, Foxy, the controversial rapper confesses her soul. Though her debut Ill Na Na and her sophomore album Chyna Doll were both critically acclaimed, selling over 4 million copies combined, it’s Broken Silence that will define Foxy Brown, as a person as well as an artist.
On the thematic sounding "Falling," Foxy explains how her rise to the top almost ended in her downfall. But that’s just the beginning, because on the heartfelt "The Letter," a dedication to her mother and brothers, Foxy’s lyrics come to life, and her truth reveals itself. "Dear Mommy, I apologize/ I know it’s cause of me that your life is traumatized/…You were there when this fame almost got me killed/ When I was in the hospital and could not be still/ Only you knew the reason that I popped these pills…," admits Foxy. She explains, "The letter was an actual letter I’d written when I was at the lowest point. It took a long time to finish that record, because I was literally in tears, it was so real."
During her two-year hiatus, Foxy Brown managed to avoid the limelight. But even though she was taking time off from her career, her name remained at the tip of everyone’s tongue. She explains on the chorus to "Seven Thirty"(a blazing track produced by newcomer Loafey). She spits, "They say I’m seven thirty/ Say I spazz out/ F
B is ill/ She’ll wild out/ Can y’all feel my pain/ I can’t let it slide/ How could I smile when I’m hurting so bad inside?"
Though Foxy Brown has suffered some trying times in the past couple of years, she hasn’t completely lost her spirit. Fox Boogie returns on tracks like the Neptunes-produced "Candy" and the gritty "BK Anthem," where she delivers hardcore rhymes in that original Ill Na Na fashion, proving that she’s never lost her touch. Broken Silence features only a few guest appearances, focusing solely on Foxy Brown. Mystikal drops his hostile vocals on "Bout My Paper" and Capone-N-Noreaga get down and dirty on "Run Your Shit." But it’s Foxy’s uncensored rhymes and Jamaican-influenced delivery that steals the show.
On "Run Dem" and "Tables Will Turn," both featuring Baby Cham, Foxy brings the heat, with songs sure to cause a ruckus in the club. It’s that trend-setting rhyme style that will be Foxy’s new signature. "My father is Trinidadian and my mother is of Trinidadian descent so I grew up on Caribbean culture," Foxy affirms. The authenticity of songs like "Nana Be Like," "Oh Yeah," and "Saddest Day" will be a sharp contrast tohip-hop’s recent influx of not-so-real reggae-inspired music.
As far as production goes, Foxy opted for quality. Instead of going after the obvious hitmakers (with the exception of the Neptunes on 2 tracks), Foxy Brown went deep into the lab, bringing people like Dave Kelly and Ski back out into the forefront. As a result, the music is Foxy specific, and wouldn’t fit any other artist. The somber tone of "Hood Silence" is a perfect example of Broken Silence’s distinguishable sound, with its Arabian-sounding background and mid-tempo beat.
Without the help of rhyme partner Jay-Z or The Firm, Foxy Brown is determined to stand on her own two feet with this album. "I had no choice but to fend for myself this time, but I’ve always been doing that. No one has made Foxy. I made me, from the first bar I ever spit," she stresses. Now a developed songwriter, Broken Silence proves to be Foxy’s best writing to date. With each verse, Foxy delivers the truth, letting listeners into her world. Broken Silence is a testament, and it’s about time Foxy Brown’s message is heard.
In early 2002, Brown re-signed with Def Jam Records in a joint venture with P. Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment and negotiated an Ill Na Na Entertainment label deal with
the Universal Music Group. She began work on a fourth album, entitled
Ill Na Na 2: The Fever . In February 2003, Foxy was nominated
for a Grammy award in the Best Female Rap Solo category for her song
"Na Na Be Like," but lost to Missy Elliot at the ceremony. In May, she
released "I Need A Man," the lead single from Ill Na Na 2: The Fever .
Disputes with Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen delayed the album's release, and,
in October, Foxy announced that she had been released from her contract with
Def Jam, her album shelved indefinitely. In late October, Foxy Brown shared
the details of her departure with radio and television personality Wendy
Williams in a tell-all interview and announced several projects under
development, including a new recording contract with an unnamed label, a
starring role in a motion picture, an MTV reality series, and a fur
Currently Foxy is working on her new album. She is back on DefJam/ Rocafella and she was given a label too. The new album is entitled Black Roses and it is scheduled for a June release. The album will feature.. Jay-Z, Dido, Barrington Levy, Roxanne Chante, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim among others.