Foxy Brown @ The Shrine in Chicago 1/17/16 (Concert Review)

If you asked me who my top five female emcees would be, I would have to include Foxy Brown in my list. So you already know when I heard she was coming to Chicago for a concert, I was absolutely stoked!

In my opinion, Foxy Brown is a very underrated emcee. She came in the game in 1995 as a teenager spitting straight fire on the "I Shot Ya (Remix)" with rap heavyweights Fat Joe, LL Cool J, Prodigy, and Keith Murray. Like many women in hip hop during the 1990's who teamed up with male rappers, majority male hip-hop groups, and producers to start off their careers, Foxy went under Jay-Z's wing and released her debut album, "Ill Na Na" in November of 1996. In 1997, she teamed up with fellow New York rappers Nas and AZ to create "The Firm" album. Her later albums "Chyna Doll" and "Broken Silence" were released in 1999 and 2001.

What made Foxy Brown a game changer was her raunchy lyrics, hardcore delivery, and intricate lyrics that could rival any male rapper. Although the friends eventually became rivals, she and fellow Brooklynite Lil' Kim (both Lil' Kim's debut "Hardcore" album and Foxy's "Ill Na Na" were released a week apart) made it popular for female rappers to unapologetically rap about taboo subjects like sex, go in on a track just as aggressive as male rappers, all the while maintaining fabulous feminity and rocking haute couture garments. While some may disagree with their stance, Foxy and Kim's influence changed an entire generation of female rappers, still relevant in the modern hip hop and rap communities. Although she was not the first to do it, Foxy was also one of many major artists to bring strong dancehall and reggae elements into her hip hop music, spitting in Jamaican Patois, which was heavily found on the "Broken Silence" album featuring Jamaican reggae and dancehall artists like Spragga Benz and Baby Cham.

The show started two hours late, but I was told by my boyfriend that the venue, The Shrine, usually has artists perform after the said time in order to get people to buy drinks. Ok fine. As long as I had my spot in the front, I was cool. After jammin' to old school hip-hop hits for a while, Foxy was finally introduced by her dj, DJ Unique and came out performing her verse from "Touch Me, Tease Me". There were some technical difficulties with her crystal encrusted mic and chile she told the club dj: "Me and my peoples came all the way from Brooklyn,,,you can't be disrespecting us like this, fix the mic!" You know people from Brooklyn always have to let you know they're 'from Brooklyn, son!'

Once the mic situation was fixed, Foxy performed a 30 minute set of songs including her verse from "Ain't No N*gga""I Can't""Na Na Be Like""Come Fly With Me""Tables Will Turn""Oh Yeah", and "Gotta Get You Home". Seeing that it was dancehall night, it was only right for Trinidadian American, Ms. Inga to bless us with some of her dancehall and soca inspired classics. I honestly wished her set was longer and she would have performed more, but I was still loving the performance. While on stage in between songs, Foxy Brown mentioned that a lot of  new female rappers are trying to be like her and Lil' Kim, specifically when it comes to fashion. I was a bit shocked that she mentioned Lil' Kim since the two don't get along, but props to her for that. I do think within today's hip hop and rap scene, a lot of newer artists borrow a lot from older artists and barely give credit or pay homage. We already saw that go down with the Lil' Kim vs. Nicki Minaj beef a few years back.

Foxy stated that she had taken a five year break from music, but 2016 is the year she will be coming out with new music. In 2013 she released a few snippets of songs, that I'm still waiting to hear in depth, so I hope those are released first and foremost. Foxy Brown still has it and I'm rooting for her. Stage presence was there, she was live, energetic, and very engaging with the crowd. She is undoubtedly one of the most slept on female emcees to ever grace the mic and definitely deserves more credit. I'm looking forward to her journey and new music in the future. Hip-hop needs more OGs, especially the women of hip-hop, to be more active and keep the essence of 90's hip-hop alive. Enjoy some snippets from her performance:



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