Foxy Brown, all of 19 years old, has worked exceedingly hard to cultivate her image as the illest of hiphop divas. While touring to promote her first album, she drew lots of media attention for spitting on a hotel maid. Just last year, Foxy Brown allegedly assaulted a writer for Vibe, after the magazine published a cover story on her. And if the headlines weren’t enough, her sophomore effort, Chyna Doll, has arrived to hammer the message into your head that Foxy Brown is one mean bitch.
In rap music, if you’re a woman being portrayed by an MC, you’re usually either his mother or a slut. Tales of teases and harlots are staples of hiphop, and some of rap’s most renowned songs are frankly anti-woman. I always thought that all those randy stories of gold-digging hoochies were overblown, but a good listen to Foxy Brown’s Chyna Doll has driven me out of the realm of democratic idealism and into the real world. Now I know that it’s materialistic lustnot societal oppression or no-good menthat holds women back.
Chyna is a hiphop classic if only for the light it shines on black male-female relationships. The album’s production is loathsome, and Foxy Brown’s new flow sounds a lot like Lil’ Kim’s. Nevertheless, the album provides a brilliant explanation of why rappers, and society at large, must at all times be wary of scandalous hos.
From the outset, Foxy Brown swiftly defines the conflict. The woman problem doesn’t have anything to do with patriarchy, phallocentrism, or sexism. The problem is bitches. And who better to explain this than Foxy Brown, who repeatedly states throughout the album that she’s a bitch and proud of it. “I’m a muthafuckin biiiitch!!!,” she roars repeatedly on “BWA.” Joining Foxy Brown on the song are Mia X and Gangsta Boo, and all three use the cut to explain why each is more of a scandalous skeezer than the others. Of course, neither collaborator threatens Foxy Brown’s reign as queen of the sluts, as she so poetically observes: “Only one bitch put it down like this.”
Yet despite “BWA”‘s bit of female unity, you won’t catch Foxy Brown quoting bell hooks. She clearly detests the godawful feministshe displays as much disdain for women as she does for geeks like me. On “Can U Feel Me Baby,” she freely admits that she has no sense of loyalty to her fellow skeezers: “If it ain’t my dogs, I ain’t fuckin wit ’em/Shit, bitches in my crew, I ain’t fuckin wit ’em.”
In Foxy Brown’s world, all the women are vixens sauntering into the club in skimpy catsuits, luring you in with a coy smile, letting you buy the drinks, then picking your pocket while you brag about your impressive wardrobe. If you’re lucky, they’ll take you to some cheap hotel, screw your brains out, then leave you handcuffed to the bed with no car keys. No wonder MCs are so down on women.
Yet despite resenting Foxy Brown, men are insanely attracted to herat least according to her they are. The CD insert contains several half-naked shots of the rapper, who proceeds to take a whole song to remind us time and again that she’s “got that bomb-ass pussy.” But Foxy Brown is most concerned with what you can do for her. On “I Can’t,” she explains it fairly clearly: “I’m about that money, no need to pretend/Why don’t you holler at me when you ready to spend.”
The album’s most revealing cut is Foxy Brown’s duet with DMX, “Dog & a Fox.” DMX takes the opportunity to set her straight and demonstrate the correct way of dealing with women: “I been playin’ bitches all my life/From that ho to my wife.” When you hear an MC like DMX offering such illuminating insights on dating in the ’90s, you understand that rap’s future is in capable hands.
What is most impressive about Chyna is the fact that Foxy Brown is not yet old enough to buy herself a drink, yet she’s wise enough to make these insights into the world of womanhood. Cuts like “Can U Feel Me Baby” and “Baller Bitch” could only come from a genuine prodigy.
Chyna Doll is an extremely revealing album. Forget that Foxy Brown really has no rhyme skills. Forget that the production is wretched from top to bottom. Now I know what Ice Cube was warning me about. Now I understand RZA’s “Domestic Violence.” The album has finally explained to the world why MCs are so blatantly sexist. It’s because of these skeezers running unchecked through the streets of black America. It’s because of these money-grubbing hoochies who want their whole lives financed by sugar daddies. It’s all so clear now. And we’ve got Foxy Brown to thank for it.CP