Foxy Brown – Ill Na Na 2: The Fever
Def Jam (release date TBD)
Rap / Hip-hop
Sadly, in 2007 Foxy Brown has been known more so for making headlines than making music. However back in 2003 she recorded Ill Na Na 2: The Fever. Naturally where Foxy was, drama followed. After losing her unborn child and squabbling with her label the album was shelved.
Yet, miraculously, MGF found a copy to review.
An unreleased album is like a rare glimpse into an artist’s heart. Sure they intended to have it out in the open, but it never made it, which makes it kind of a treat. If you like Foxy Brown, you’ll like this album. If you’re not really a fan, you might find yourself oddly enjoying the album.
“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” comes off as practically absurd, with Foxy attempting to claim her stake among the top emcees. It’s a moment of hubris that only becomes more ironic given her recent history and the album’s fate.
On “Open Book” Foxy puts her claims in a historical context, comparing herself to Roxanne Shante over a sped up sample (which was the fashion at the time).
“Magnetic” features Pharrell doing his best “Bomb Squad sampling James Brown” impression on the beat. It’s actually quite an interesting beat that almost overshadows Foxy’s rhymes.
For some reason, Foxy felt the need not only to put together a crew of less talented emcees (including her brother Gavin) but also to let them appear on the album. “Jumpin'” is clearly that obligatory “this is my posse” cut.
Many of the beats on the album (“Why Why Why”, “Streets Love Me”, “The Original”) have a Caribbean feel to them. And there are some songs that feature familiar samples (the otherwise flawless and almost poignant “Memory Lane”).
All in all, it’s a solid album, with the only flaws being those befalling most hip-hop albums; being too prideful and trying too hard to put your peeps down. Still it would have been nice had it seen the light of day.