freddiefoxx

TRACKING SHOTS: Freddie Foxxx

There is no need to fear Freddie Foxxx. The MCs rep as an individual not to be crossed is legit, but don’t let the sizeable stature, gruff rhymes and machismo make you neglect the fact that he places a premium on loyalty, possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of Hip-Hop and sports a keen intellect. Also known as Bumpy Knuckles, he recently released Crazy Like a Foxxx, a previously shelved album from 1994 which includes his collaboration with Tupac Shakur [“Killa”], on Fat Beats Records. Bumpy is still tweaking Amerikkan Blackman, the final album in the trilogy started with 2000’s Industry Shakedown and 2003’s The Konexion. “I got all the material, now I gotta build a building,” says Foxxx who cites a murderers row of production contributors [DJ Scratch, Clark Kent, Alchemist, Kev Brown, Pete Rock, et. al] to the album. Amerikkan Blackman won’t appear until 2009, so for now, as part of AllHipHop’s inaugural “Tracking Shots” column, we played Bumpy some records—strictly vinyl—and asked him to comment. History lesson starts now. The Flavor Unit “Roll Wit Tha Flava” Flavor Unit/EpicAllHipHop.com: How did you connect with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit?Freddie Foxxx: When I did “Hot Potato” with Naughty By Nature it kinda put me on a platform. I was getting a lot of comments—especially from Shakim [Compere]—telling me he was playing “Hot Potato” for a lot of people and they kept talking about my verses on there and how strong they were and how they matched with Treach real good. Lyrically Treach was top of the pile; no one was really messing with Treach lyrically and when I did the song with him they saw that there was a good match there. So that’s what got me the deal actually.AllHipHop.com: How did you get Naughty by Nature’s song in the first place?Freddie Foxxx: Nikki D had a party, she was like the first female signed to Def Jam or something like that and I was at that party and I think it was an argument between LL Coo J and Bonz Malone, if I’m not mistaken. I believe LL either punched him in the face or swung on him or something.I think either Bonz was saying that certain cats wasn’t Hip-Hop and I think LL was offended because he was like, Who are you to say who’s Hip-Hop and who’s not? I caught the tail end of the argument. All I know is LL was pissed off at him and his people started gathering around. So I kind of see these dudes coming up the steps like real cruddy looking, grimy looking dudes and it was Treach and his boys and I was by myself with that trusty knapsack I used to keep with me you know, and we caught eye contact. I thought it was gonna be a problem at first but you know his look and my look kinda look alike if you was an outsider looking in, it looked like we was about to get it in on each other like hard body beefin’ but it was actually him acknowledging me and I was kinda standoffish and when I saw the acknowledgment I just nodded back. I didn’t even know he knew who I was. He walked past me said, “What up”, I said “What up”, and next time I seen’em it was in the city and he had asked me to do the record.AllHipHop.com: So on Flavor Unit was the intention of having an album come out and it just didn’t?Freddie Foxxx: Yeah. It was the intention was for me to do an album. At the time this is before people was wearing all that crazy fancy jewelry and people had like a real down to earth outlook on Hip-Hop. Just raw emceeing and I wanted to bring a sound that I didn’t think they had which was like a dark underground boom, bap kind of sound and that was my intention – to bring that sound to their label.Zapp “More Bounce to the Ounce”More Bounce to the Ounce – ZappAllHipHop.com: This joint has always been crazy and sampled like mad. It also reminds you of stuff going on today…Freddie Foxxx:

This “More Bounce to the Ounce” record nobody used it better than EPMD ["You Gots To Chill"],

they ID’d that record. When Hip-Hop started and people were rapping to

records I remember the sound sounded like a lot of live

instrumentation. These are not samples in this record, these are live

instruments; when you listen back to Hip-Hop in its original form,

Kurtis Blows, and Funky Fours Plus One Mores which was before that, the

Jazzy Five MCs, and the Fantastic Romantic 5 all those artists. When

I was a little kid I listened to them songs and I heard live

instrumentation. That right there, even though EPMD sampled it, it gave

me a feel of the reason it was so good sounding to me was because of

the way it sounded for them to be rhyming over live instrumentation.

Nowadays people chop stuff up and filter it so crazy you don’t get the

joy of hearing the baseline, or if [it’s] somebody’s voice do [Auto-Tune].That right there is influencing now what you hear

through Lil Wayne and Kanye and T-Pain. People giving T-Pain credit for

something that Roger Troutman been doing for a long time. I can’t knock

T-Pain for doing what he do because he does a good job at what he does

but there’s just so much that you can do with that. The original

Talk Box I think he put a tube in your mouth if I’m not mistaken, the

original one, it’s a little square box with a button on it and it’s a

tube that you put in the corner of your mouth. Stevie Wonder used it and

all those guys. I remember seeing Roger Troutman at a hotel 

in the Regal Royal hotel, what used to be the Regal Royal Hotel, and I

had bought a Talk Box years ago and I asked him. I said, “Yo Rog, I like

your work, “ he said, “Thank you young fellow, thank you.” So I said,

“I got a Talk Box and I want to know if you can teach me or tell me how

to use it,” and he said, “the best advice that I can give you…,” and he

paused for a second, he gave me his card and said, “Hire me!” [laughs] Gang Starr “Credit Is Due” EMI/ChrysalisCredit Is Due – Gang StarrAllHipHop.com: I played that  obviously cause it’s Premo track. You two have worked together plenty, how did y’all meet?Freddie Foxxx: I saw these videos of Gang Starr and it was amazing to me to see. The one thing was Guru’s voice, that monotone kind of, you don’t know if it was nasally, his voice had a real unique sound to it. Rakim’s influence I saw in Guru, you know? I also noticed that the music beds that he was rapping over just had a whole different feel to what everybody else was doing and I always wanted to meet Premier. So I was coming out of MCA Records one day and I saw Premier crossing the street and we was crossing at the same corner and he was like, “Yo I respect you man, I respect you.”AllHipHop.com: So he already knew who you were?Freddie Foxxx: Yeah. I was like, “Yo dawg I always wanted to meet you,” so we exchanged numbers, we talked and that was when he called me and asked me to do “The Militia” and I was like definitely. You know what that was even before that, he asked me to do O.C’s record. He asked me to do “M.U.G” [O.C.s Jewelz] that was it. When he asked me to do those records that was when I first met him, so we had a conversation about Hip-Hop and where we came from, who we knew, just a regular basic conversation and it turned into I was getting calls from him on the constant just to do things for him. By the time I got to do “The Militia” with him I didn’t realize it but we actually toured a long time off that one project. We became friends based on the fact that we would get in the studio, he would just play beats and it would be a bunch of us, M.O.P., Show & AG would be in their sometimes different cats that he hung with. We’d all be in the studio and people would just be listening to these records and I’d be like, “Yo I wanna jump on that.” So we’d just write a bunch of rhymes. Premier was like, “I want this person,” and very tedious and meticulous with his work. He’s not just a regular dude who’ll go in slash something together. Premier goes in with a plan and he’s one of the first producers outside of Pete Rock,  that really produced a record for me. He was one of those first cats to be like, “Bump, do the vocal again either say it harder, or don’t say it that hard.” He was really critiquing what I laid down when most cats was afraid to direct me as a producer. They usually just give me the beat and let me do what I want, Premier was like, “Yo go back let’s do it from this point.” Certain cadences in my voice Premier would say, “Yo that’s what I want to hear from you.” I would follow his lead because he’s just a great producer, he’s an amazing producer.Ghostface Killah “The Watch” Razor Sharp/EpicThe Watch – Ghostface KillahAllHipHop.com: Ghost Deini. Obviously I played this because one your most infamous lines from Industry Shakedown was when you said Ghostface was saving the Wu. Freddie Foxxx: You know what, every time I hear Ghostface record I smile. I don’t care what record he do. I don’t think there’s no rapper that ever touched a mic with the swagger of a Ghostface Killah, like he is the definition of swagger to me because he’s always out the box, you know what I mean, and to me when you know you a star you show it in ways that most people will look at as arrogance or look at as cocky but Ghostface is the king of swagger. He’s a stylish dude, I like the fact that his pen can go in any direction at any given point you know. He’s actually coined a lot of phrases that people use, he got a lot of style, and every time I ever hear his records, I rock his joints all the time. He’s just so hood with it, he epitomizes MCs are really supposed to be. He got all the different sides, he got the gangsta side, he got the smooth side, he got the playa pimp mack side but he puts it all in a big old pile like a big chocolate strawberry kiwi sundae. And he’ll say some s**t like that. AllHipHop.com: During Industry Shakedown, when you dropped that record, was there ever any hesitation on your part or were people near you saying, “Bump I don’t know if they ready for this?”Freddie Foxxx: I didn’t really care about that. I was more concerned about getting my point across. It’s just like being in a fight. If I’m in a fight I don’t worry about what my enemy gonna do to me. I’m more focused about what I’m gonna do to my enemy to win so when I did Industry Shakedown my point was to give people my opinion. That’s what I was raised in Hip-Hop to learn how to do. When you get the mic if you aint gonna say nothing relevant or credible then shut up. But I had to make sure I let people know how I felt about the fact that there’s people out here who pretend to be more than they really are, or there’s MCs out here who people are giving props to that really don’t deserve their props. I was a battle mc when I started out so I made records in that kind of context. But I don’t worry about what people think about what I had to say or not, ‘cause I wasn’t in the rap business to be brownnosing people and kissing a**. I was in the game to make my lane and the doors that I knocked on if they didn’t open them I kicked’em down. Eric B. & Rakim “I Ain’t No Joke” 4th & BroadwayAllHipHop.com: The story has been told that Eric B. was telling Marley Marl, I got this rapper, I got this rapper, Freddi Foxxx and you weresupposed to come through and you didn’t make it and that’s how Rakim ended up working with Marley. True story?Freddie Foxxx: Yeah, I think Eric told that story to AllHipHop. He told a few people a few times. You know the funny thing is when I told the story everybody said I was not telling the truth, like I just wake up in the morning and wanna tell a lie or something. But I didn’t get mad about it ‘cause I knew there was other people out there who knew what the true story was. And when Eric told it, no one ever called me to say, “Yo dawg you was actually telling the truth or we believe you now.” And that’s didn’t matter to me, I know what it is, Eric knows what it is and if Rakim didn’t know what it is that don’t even phase me or bother me at all. [Rakim] definitely made his mark in this game and Rakim actually changed people’s approach to emceeing when he came out, ‘cause everybody was on top of the beat like 8th note, [sings, “I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don't stop the party people in the place just clap your hands”] and they was doing that. When Rakim came out all of that switched. You know me, I say what it is, the first rapper that I heard bite his style was Spoonie G who was already a legend in the game, he switched his whole rhyme style up and if you go back and listen to Spoonie G records he got a record, I cant remember the name of this record man it was on a cover with a blue label and he was rhyming like Rakim and I thought that was crazy. Rakim got Spoonie G rhyming like him now and then after he did it then King Sun and everybody else started using Rakim’s flow and I said that’s pretty impressive.I remember the excitement when Rakim and Eric dropped that record, the excitement that was going on in Long Island in that hood there was excitement about that record. There was excitement in East Elmhurst, Queens about Eric ‘cause that’s that hood he was from and the excitement to see they had made this record and it was a good look.AllHipHop.com:  Now I heard that the issue you had with Rakim is squashed? Is that correct?Freddie Foxxx: You know what, it wasn’t formally. Me and him ain’t talk about it or nothing like that, I just let it go because it wasn’t really that serious. My issue with him was based on the fact he’s never a dude who would make a phone call to me and say, “Yo man somebody said this, what is it Fox, is that real or they lying?” Instead he would automatically assume that I did something to maybe violate his name or something to that effect. But he know me better than that. If somebody said something like Rakim said this about you, I wouldn’t just lash out but somebody showed me an interview he did, they played the audio in the interview he did and I’m like this dude is buggin’ man and I’ve never been a cat to kind of cower down to people. He ain’t no different than no one else to me. The fans may see it one way but I see it, if he want it, anybody can get it. Like if we emceeing it’s all good, whatever, it don’t matter how dope you are, how dope you think you are, we making records I stay working, so I don’t need no props off of Rakim. People say, “Oh I’m active in my own zone,” so I can’t get props off of somebody who ain’t been hot in a minute. He never said nothing back about it and you know I let it go, I ain’t got no problems with him.

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