Freddie Foxxx :: Industry Shakedown :: Kjac/Landspeed
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Freddie Foxxx has paid so many dues he could open his own S&L and charge rappers five percent annually to BORROW his. That's probably why he broke off the alias 'Bumpy Knuckles' - he has too many props to go around for ONE rap handle.

Foxxx is not afraid to let motherfuckers know it either. After a decade of shitty record deals and show stealing cameo appearances on everything from the Flavor Unit compilation to GangStarr's "The Militia", he's ready to blow the door off the hinges. "Industry Shakedown" is Foxxx's answer to everybody: critics, shady executives, and wack rappers with no skills. Unlike most trash-talkers, Foxxx actually names names and will undoubtedly be causing beefs for years to come. Take "Inside Your Head" for example:

"I'm sick and tired of Nore and his WHAT WHAT WHAT
Write some rhymes nigga or give the shit UP UP UP
I'll beat you til your face is mad ugly like Biz
if you ever open your mouth to ask me what a 'Memph Bleek is' ..."

Once you hear this blazing track, your biggest surprise may be in realizing that Foxxx produced it himself. He laces the album with a lot of solid beats for his menacing rhyme flow - they growl and spit as much as he does. "24 Hrs.", "MCs Come and MCs Go", and "Feel Like I Been Here" are all 95% solid musically. They'd stand out even more though if it weren't for the hired hitmen Foxxx brought in to amp up the levels another notch.

"Rhymin is a part of my life
I'ma die with rhymin kids and a rhymin wife
I don't let nobody judge me
that don't know how to do what I do
So if you don't like it then FUCK YOU!"

The above writtens were spit-en on the DJ Premier laced "Part of My Life", which surfaced earlier last year on a hot underground 12". Primo also blazed up the head-knocking "R.N.S.", while Pete Rock bangs it out on the title track "Who Knows Why?", and "Bumpy Knuckles Baby." Alchemist catches wreck on "Tell 'Em I'm Here" and "Stock in the Game" and Diamond D even catches some on "Bumpy Bring it Home." All of this would mean shit though without the commanding Foxxx delivery - which is obviously what had hip-hop's greatest producers lined up around the block to break him off. Who wouldn't want Freddie to rip on their shit?

Cameos are kept to a minimum - indicative of both Freddie's talent (he doesn't need the help) and his ego (why would he share time with some wack motherfucker). M.O.P. show up twice on "Bumpy Bring it Home" and "The Mastas" but other than that it's just "Searchin'" featuring Terisa Griffin harmonizing and singing the hook. This was one of the few truly unpleasant experiences on the album - it sounds like they wanted to go crossover but Foxxx is too intense verbally to be able to mesh with some soft singing shit.

Lest you get the impression this was a perfect album, Foxxx doesn't deliver what The Magazine Not Named would call a five-mic performance throughout. The first half of the album starts out slow, and the second half is overloaded with guest producers - this has the unintentional effect of making the beats AND the rhymes sound weaker on his own produced tracks; even when they're really not. The skits are "informative" but not really necessary (certainly not 3 of them) and the two "live" snippets don't do Foxxx justice. If you see him in concert PERSONALLY you can vibe to his energy, but on his own album it sounds pale compared to hard beats and the flows crafted and perfected in the studio. Overall though, Foxxx shows himself a versatile talent and the kind of MC who's not afraid to talk shit THEN back it up. No wonder he says Biggie Smalls called HIM the illest!

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: July 19, 2000