24 January, 2009@7:42 am
Freddie Foxxx (aka Bumpy Knuckles) is already a legend it most hip-hoppers minds. With the classic Industry Shakedown and the solid Konexion under his belt his place in hip-hop was solidified long ago. Little did some know, Freddie Foxxx was around long before what some consider his debut album in 2000. In 1998 he was featured on the Gangstarr smash “The Militia”, before that he was featured on “M.U.G.” off of OC’s now classic “Jewelz”, but we are going to go even further back.
In 1990 Kool G Rap featured him on “Money in the Bank” from Wanted: Dead or Alive and he was a key ingredient in BDP’s Stop The Violence Movement. Though largely aloof, Freddie Foxxx should truly be considered one of the pioneers. While his style has changed slightly over the years, he has remained an emcee’s emcee, never compromising his style to sell records and always remaining true to the streets. The true introduction to the Freddie Foxxx came in 1989 on his debut album Freddie Foxxx is Here through MCA Records. Rhyming much faster like Rakim circa “Follow The Leader”, this album solidified Foxxx as an up and comer to watch. After the debut album, Foxxx parted ways with MCA and hooked up with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit crew. While anticipation was high for his sophomore effort Crazy Like a Foxxx, it never saw the light of day…until now.
Fat Beats, in conjunction with Foxxx himself, together have now made the shelved album available to the public for the first time. Copies were circulated in 1994 for promotional use, but this is the first time the general public is blessed with the album in its entirety. If that’s not enough, you also get the “D.I.T.C. Version” of the album that the Flavor Unit turned down in 1993, which is entirely produced by the D.I.T.C. crew (Showbiz, Buckwild, Lord Finesse, Diamond D). Any and all and hip-hop enthusiasts are urged to buy this album as a part of hip-hop history. Much like KMD “Black Bastards” and J-Live “The Best Part”, this is another album that may have been a considered classic, had it just been given the chance to shine in it’s original era.
Production credits are unknown for the entire album and the sleeve doesn’t provide much information either. This writer has had the album since around 1997, but the quality of the re-release far surpasses any bootleg you may have heard from the past. There is a reason why Freddie Foxxx has been compared to Rakim, 2pac, and other revolutionary emcees. Each track is a vivid description of life in the early 90’s, over classic boom bap production that you simply don’t hear in 2009, and will most likely not hear again, due to the high price of clearing samples. Two themes ring true through the entire LP, Foxxx is from the streets and knows how to hit them skins, these themes are apparent throughout the early to mid-nineties.
Foxxx spits that real street life mentality on songs like “Crazy Like a Foxxx” and “Jail House Rock”. Nowadays, guest appearances are a must, but back in 1994 you had to have real respect for another emcee to let them get some shine on your album, which is reason only true emcees like Chuck D, Kool G Rap, and 2pac are able to bless a Bumpy Knuckles track. That’s right 2pac, before all the drama with East vs. West and Death Row, Pac was revered by many New York emcees. The ‘Pac featured “Killa” isn’t some thrown together unused 2pac verse; this was when emcees stepped in the studio and tried to outdo each other. Its tracks like these that make you truly miss hip-hop in its purest form.
We need to all thank Fat Beats and Freddie Foxxx for finally letting us hear this would be classic. Years from now people might look back, and perhaps Freddie Foxxx will get the credit he deserves. Until then, we anticipate Foxxx’s next endeavor Amerikkan Black Man, sometime hopefully in the near future. - DG
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