Foxy Brown - Brooklyn’s Don Diva

Posted May 15, 2008
Tags: Foxy Brown,

What happens to a talent deffered? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it spend so...

Brooklyn's Don Diva Album Review

What happens to a talent deffered? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it spend so much time fighting criminal charges that it only releases one album every 7 years? There was a time, 1999 to be exact, when the world believed Foxy Brown’s raspy flow and supremely confident demeanor would establish her as a hip-hop legend. But then came an arrest, followed by a few more arrests, followed by some jail time, and a legitimate musical career quickly turned into a paparazzi’s wet dream. Sadly, most people under 18 probably couldn’t name a Foxy Brown song, and if they know her at all it’s primarily because of her assorted scrapes with the law. With the constant media coverage surrounding Ms. Brown, it’s easy to forget she’s only had one top ten song in her career (1997’s I’ll Be). How good could Foxy have been if she spent as much time writing verses as she did writing affidavits? I guess we’ll never know.

Or maybe, just maybe, there’s still a chance. It may have taken the better part of a decade, but Inga Marchand is finally back with the release of her new album, Brooklyn's Don Diva. It’s hard to know how to feel about Don Diva; on one hand Foxy has completely squandered her opportunity to release a classic album fueled by inspiration and revenge, electing instead to retread some well-worn rap themes. Then again, the mere fact I’m holding Don Diva in my hand is a minor miracle. So there’s cause for celebration, just don’t expect the party to be that hot.

Those of us who are old enough to remember Foxy at her height remember an MC who set the standard for tough yet sexy female rappers. Well never fear Ill Na Na fans, that Foxy is still very much alive. On Too Real the Don Diva looks back on her impossibly dramatic life over some laid back blunted production, spitting, “I don’t’ know who to trust, the church or the rifle, the god or the devil, the burner or the Bible.” Too Real is a reminder of what Don Diva could have been, an album filled with hard hitting yet complex lyricism that proved all the drama had only made her a stronger MC, but unfortunately that kind of inspired songwriting is few and far between. The album starts off with the bass rattling We’re On Fire, a new school street anthem that find Foxy dropping into her signature rough-sex appeal voice with lines like, “I’ve been the same b**ch before rap, only thing that changed is my ass got more fat.” Really? I would have hoped that wouldn’t have been the only thing that changed. In a way that line is a perfect metaphor for the entire album. Foxy’s so determined to prove she’s the same rapper she was seven years ago - that she’s stayed the same rapper she was seven years ago.

I know for a fact Foxy can elevate her game, I’ve heard Star Cry. Star Cry is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of hip-hop’s most troubled stars: “Put aside the Christian Dior, look inside my soul and see I’m just a little insecure, I’m just like y’all but I probably hurt more.” The fascinating thing about Foxy is not simply that she keeps getting into trouble, it’s why. What drives her to keep fighting the law at every turn, despite the consequences? If Foxy were to make an album that truly answered that question it would be go down in hip-hop history, as Star Cry likely will. Unfortunately for every Star Cry on Don Diva there’s two forgettable tracks like Bulletproof Love, the disappointingly disposable collaboration with Lil Mo (where’s she been?). And Bulletproof isn’t alone, there’s plenty of recycled material on Don Diva. In fact apparently Foxy couldn’t even compile enough lines to put together a full album; she uses exactly the same verse twice, on Dreams of F**king A D-Boy and She Wanna a Rude Bwoy. For all the laws she’s broken in her life, breaking hip-hop’s “don’t use the same verse twice on one album unless it’s a remix” unwritten law might be the most shocking. Still, it feels so good to have Foxy Brown back I’m willing to acquit her of all charges, as long as we don’t have to wait another seven years for another album. Because by that time, it will be too late.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

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Posted May 15, 2008
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