Foxy Brown is one of the iconic female rappers from 1990s. Though her career hasdropped off, she was a magnet for publicity in her days, both good and bad. We look at her career and unfortunate legal run ins that often landed her in the news for the wrong reasons.
There are few musical art forms that are as unique as rap music. The rap and hip hop music genres, in their current form, are relatively new. Each style has taken fans by storm in the US and has given rise to many talented performers. Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand, better known as Foxy Brown, is an example of a fiery, female artist whose musical career has spanned 20 years and encompasses a period of time that is considered to be the height of her musical genre.
An Early Start
Foxy Brown was born on September 6, 1978 in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Brown comes from a family with Afro Trinidadian and Chinese heritage. Her father, Keith Stahler, was a musician, who abandoned the family when Brown was a child, to pursue his own career. From a y oung age, Foxy’s musical abilities were evident to her immediate family members. Her music career took off in 1994 when she was discovered by a production team working on an upcoming LL Cool J album. Brown, just a 16-year old at the time, won a talent contest held in the Park Slope neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
Members of Trackmasters were in attendance at the contest and were so taken by Brown’s ability that they brought her in to perform on the single “I Shot Ya” on LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith album. Her performance was so impressive and her talent so obvious, that a bidding war actually broke out between record labels to sign the teenager. Def Jam Records eventually won the bidding war, signing the 17-year-old Brown to the label and releasing her debut album in 1996. That album, Ill NaNa, was met with mixed reviews, but still experienced strong sales.
Collaborations and Feuds
Foxy Brown has a remarkable list of fellow artists she has worked with during numerous collaborations. Early in her career, she performed alongside the likes of Lil’ Kim, Da Br at, and T otal. She also w orked with Jay-Z, Blackstreet, Method Man, and Kid Capri on her debut album. For a brief period of time during her career, Foxy was part of a so-called “supergroup” known as The Firm. The Firm included New York-based hip hop performers Nas, AZ, and Nature. Together, the group released a selftitled album through Aftermath Records that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It sold more than 500,000 copies, and has been certified gold by the RIAA. In addition to working with Nas, AZ, and Nature, the album allowed Foxy to work with Dr. Dre, who helped produce the album alongside The Trackmasters. Other collaborations in her career include appearances with fellow artists at events such as MTV’s Spring Break festivities. She ’s appeared at these events with Snoop Dogg, the Spice Girls, Erykah Badu, and Outkast, to name a few.
At times though, Brown’s collaborations have led to conflict and feuds with other performers. Some of her high-profile conflicts include disagreements and public spats with performers such as Queen Latifah, Kurupt, Eve, Ja Rule, and Jackie-O. However, all of those disputes pale into comparison to her long standing issues with former friend, Lil’ Kim. Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim have a personal history that dates back to their time in high school. The artists were high school friends and collaborated early in their respective careers, despite performing for separate groups and r ecord labels. The enmity between the two is believed to have started with the release of their debut albums. Music critics noticed similarities between the artwork on the albums, and the situation was further escalated by the fact that the record labels scheduled the albums for release just a week apart in 1996. Just a year later, the animosity escalated as their personal relationship deteriorated. Subsequent album releases over the years featured singles in which the two exchanged veiled digs at one another, and the bickering went in and out of the public spotlight. As of 2012, the artists no longer speak with one another and fail to even recognise the other’s existence when asked about the state of their relationship.
Foxy Brown’s music, coupled with her provocative attitude, sell records and attract fans, but away from the music she has had her fair share of difficulties. In December 2005, she had to put her music career on hold because she began suffering from hearing loss. She underwent surgery to correct the problem and returned to her mainstream activities in the summer of 2006. Her career has also been threatened, and frequently stalled, by numerous encounters with law enforcement. Her legal troubles began at the start of her musical odyssey. In 1997, she had a verbal altercation with hotel employ ees in Raleigh, North Carolina. The incident eventually resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Brown because she failed to appear for her designated court date. Other notable incidents include being escorted off stage by police during a concert in Trinidad and Tobago for obscene language, an arrest for driving without a license, and an altercation with law enforcement officers at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica. She spent several months in jail in 2007/2008 following a fight with manicurists in a New York City salon.
Foxy Brown remains active in rap and hip hop circles. She released a street album in 2008 that peaked at #5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart. Currently, she is believed to be working on a fourth studio album, but it has not yet received a release date.