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Volume 90, Issue 75
Thursday, February 06, 1997
Foxy lady comin' to getcha
Ill Na Na
Can you believe this girl is only 17? Foxy Brown has exploded onto the rap/hip hop scene in the last year with her debut release Ill Na Na. What does it mean? Beats the hell out of me.
But what is obvious is this album has a great combination of flowing lyrics and smooth beats. You can almost feel (turn it up for full effect) the force of her words as the violence mixes with the profanity. Granted, these are typical gangsta' rap lyrics but the music still sounds good. Brown's use of the word "slant-eye" is a bit pervasive however.
Another irritating aspect of this album is the constant mention of the "Firm;" how bad-ass it is and how willing everyone is to die for it. Notorious BIG had a similar motif with his release of Juicy and it seems a good number of rappers want to have their own recording studio/gang membership.
The influences of Brown's album are immediately apparent, as the methodical, yet lyrical harmony of NAS is interjected among the 13 tracks. NAS always takes a flowing backbeat and then spices it up with a few cuts, a little mixing and usually some strong bass. This formula works for him and it works on this album as well.
As a debut album, it is always important to form good associations with other artists who could eventually advance your career. The producers at Jive recognize this and had Brown team up with Blackstreet for "Take Me Home," currently one of the hottest singles on the hip hop chart. R & B and hip hop have always blended well together, particularly when the rapper is female. This track is no exception, effectively enhancing Blackstreet's melodies while show-casing Brown's lyrics.
With the release of Ill Na Na, Foxy takes her place among some of the greatest female rappers including Little Kim, Queen Latifah and Salt N' Pepa to name but a few. The tracks pound, the lyrics flow. Enough said.
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