By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Foxy’s debut album beat Lil’ Kim’s Hard Core in the race to the 1 million sales mark primarily because of the recognizability and pop appeal of Track Mas ters–produced cuts based on familiar songs. "Get Me Home" was "Gotta Get You Home Tonight" by Eugene Wilde; "I’ll Be" was "I’ll Be Good" by Rene & Angela. (Lil’ Kim’s superior "No Time," on the other hand, was constructed around an obscure James Brown hook.) This time around, Fox Boogie chooses her outside references more strategically, to support the fabrication of her own mythos.
But what’s mythos without a bit of pathos? On the deliberately heavy-handed yet telling "My Life," Foxy spits these lines: "Con fused, I ain’t ask to be born/It was so dumb, shoulda used a condom/Asked Mommy every day, when Dad dy gon’ come/ But he never show ed up . . . Became de mented then/ Men? Re sent ed them/ Just the scent of ’em made me hurl . . . All I needed was love, all I wanted was love."
Nas, Foxy Brown’s partner in the Firm rap collective, says, "When I met her, Foxy hated writing her rhymes. I didn’t think she had enough confidence in the stuff she was writing, but the shit she was writing was pretty good. So I guess that’s why she took other writers in on her shit. I think she coulda wrote her whole album if she had the right guidance." Maybe Foxy’s ideas about having men do for her rather than doing for herself are at root here, but many of Chyna Doll’s tracks are lyrically co-credited between Fox, Jay-Z and J. Barrow.
The strongest tunes are those where Foxy pens her own lyrics and passes the microphone. "Baller Bitch" — a conversational Southern hip-hop-flavored romp between Fox, Too $hort and her brother Pretty Boy — comes hard; musically, it’s the deepest track. The "BWA" cut is a rowdy party, and "Ride (Down South)" parades Eightball & MJG in top form alongside Foxy and Juvenile, the prince of New Orleans’ ’bout-it Cash Money clique.Chyna Doll rates as one of the best albums by a female MC, ranking alongside Hard Core and Queen Latifah’s All Hail the Queen, though clearly nowhere near the brilliance of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Considered on a genderless level hip-hop playing field, Foxy Brown’s latest ranks about average, with extra points awarded for her mythmaking chicken-head glam. Foxy brings the drama; she’s personable.