Foxy Brown - Foxy

Updated: Aug 23

1989, Mango

  1. Sorry

  2. All My Love

  3. Baby It's You

  4. Fast Car

  5. Try

  6. Guiding Star

  7. Shower Me With Your Love

  8. Virginia Jail

  9. Let's Celebrate

  10. Thousand Kisses

I like to plunder the depths of Discogs for 80s dancehall records, searching for anything I haven't heard yet that has any chance of being good, and in doing so I am much more often than not rewarded with wonderful music - but of course with every twenty or thirty hits there must come a miss every now and then. Which is where "Foxy" comes in, a lovers-style digital dancehall set from an artist I have never heard of before. Reggae singers seemed to have an especially tough time transitioning to digital riddims, even more so with the faster, bouncier style from 88 onwards, to the point that I sometimes wonder if I even like the singing style that much in digital reggae with the amount of mediocre tunes I wade through to find the good stuff. But then I will hear certain tunes by Courtney Melody, Pliers, Pinchers, Carl Meeks, Sanchez, and then I am reminded that yes, it is actually just a difference in ability that sets them apart from the likes of Foxy Brown. Not that Foxy Brown is necessarily a bad singer - Pinchers has proven that you can make terrible records with excellent talent - but at the very least, this is a terrible record.

Working backwards from the worst of the worst, Guiding Star is a six-minute crooner on the Kuff riddim, already a bizarre choice. Kuff is one of the toughest riddims from the digital era, so good that many otherwise fine tunes upon it feel like they don't live up to the expectations of the riddim. Rare bangers like Have Fun by Yellowman showcase its brilliance, and Guiding Star is at the opposite end of the spectrum. If you have heard Kuff, you know it's a party riddim and that one would struggle to make a love song work on it. Foxy Brown doesn't sound like she knows what dancehall is, I would guess she originally sang soul and R&B type tunes before getting into reggae, and her opening lines "I'll be your guiding star, my darling cross my heart, I'll never leave you in the dark~" truly sound like they are digitally transplanted from another tune. This is a feeling that grows even stronger when she sings entirely out of key in certain phrases. As this moment first passes your ears, you may not be paying close enough attention to know exactly what was wrong - just that something was very wrong - but rest assured that with the length and repetitiveness of this song, there are plenty more opportunities left for you to hear this particular note. And for the producer, and of course for Foxy Brown herself.

The stylistic dissonance continues strong immediately after on Shower Me With Your Love, which is upon on the Punaany riddim, complete with the clave cowbell - and yes, it's another romantic crooner. More than anything, the issue with this record is the total disagreement between the vocalist and riddim. There's nothing much inherently wrong with Foxy Brown's singing, and with some Frank Sinatra-type 'riddims' full of sweeping string sections, she could make a perfectly fine piece of art. Fast Car, while not a good tune, is good evidence that in a less 'dancehall' style, Foxy Brown can come into some kind of agreement with the instruments. The last crime on my list is two tunes in a row on the same riddim, and not a good one, and neither are the vocals.

In better news, the first three tunes on this record I would pick as 'alright' rather than anything less. All are thorough lovers' tunes, with Sorry bringing a comfortable and memorable melody on the Taxi riddim, All My Love being a little bit more dramatic and a little more traditional, on a very nice riddim, and Baby It's You being smooth, vibey and quite pleasant to listen to, especially when Foxy Brown sings out the title. Conveniently, the three tunes worth listening to are placed at the very beginning of the record, allowing you to get what you need and get out before things go south.

My picks: Sorry, All My Love, Baby It's You

Bim count: 0

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