Ranking the Best Foxy Brown Albums

After years of being afterthoughts in the mainstream (aside from one or two names here or there), it’s great to see female MCs back in hip-hop’s spotlight. Last week’s Verzuz with Trina and Eve reminded me of an era where we had several women with completely different styles could enjoy success at a high level. I miss that individuality.

It’s not uncommon to hear convos about the pioneers online – from Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte and Queen Latifah to Lil Kim, Missy Elliott and the ladies mention above – but there’s always one glaring omission:

Fox Boogie Brown was a star, y’all.

Before there was Megan and Cardi, there was Kim and Foxy – the two women who were at the forefront of their movements. Years of inactivity have faded Foxy’s legacy into obscurity so let’s change that – join me as we look back at Foxy Brown’s catalog, ranking it from bottom to top.

Since Foxy’s discography is a bit limited, we’re going to break from the normal rules: Instead of just ranking her three official albums, I’m including her mixtape, collabo album AND an infamously unreleased set.

If any artist is due for a comeback, it’s Inga Marchand.

6. Brooklyn’s Don Diva (2008)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: Fun Soul In Stereo fact – this set is the reason why I stopped reviewing mixtapes and EPs for years. Back in 2008, when I was critical of Brooklyn’s Don Diva, Foxy’s fanbase – proving that stanning is not a new concept – yelled and screamed about my criticisms, saying it’s “just a mixtape” and shouldn’t be weighed the same. Well, no matter the name, Brooklyn’s Don Diva is all over the place, essentially a random assortment of unreleased tracks from shelved projects. Thankfully, a handful of strong songs keep this one from being a total loss.

Forgotten favorites: “Star Cry,” “Why,” “Too Real”

5. Chyna Doll (1999)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: I’m a big Fox fan but I’ve gotta admit that I was deeply disappointed back in 99 with Foxy’s follow up to her very successful debut. Whereas its predecessor was a tight, carefully crafted effort, this one was not – crammed with random, out of place guest stars, hit-or-miss production and this is also the era when she needlessly changed her trademark gruff delivery to an oddly squeakier one. That said, there’s a lot of wins here too, specifically the singles and the first half of the album. We expected much more at the time but it’s not without its wins.

Forgotten favorites: “My Life,” “JOB,” “BWA”

4. The Firm (1997)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: The Firm seemed like the ultimate teamup in 97. A veteran spitter in AZ, blazing-hot new upstart in Foxy Brown, promising newcomer Nature and arguably the rap GOAT Nas, produced under the watchful eye of Dr. Dre? This was the Avengers 20 years early! Unfortunately, this ain’t the movies and things don’t always go according to plan. The Firm’s debut had its moments – “Firm Biz” and “Phone Tap” are still faves – but it was too bloated, too uneven and too unfocused to live up to expectations.

Forgotten favorites: “Desperados,” “Firm Fiasco,” “Five Minutes to Flush”

3. Ill Na Na (1996)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yes, beloved, there was once a time when Foxy Brown was seen as the star and Jay Z was seen as the sidekick. Foxy’s 1996 debut was major, leaning hard on the mafioso rap tropes of the time and carefully guided by heavy hitters like Trackmasters and a young Shawn Carter himself. At just 40 minutes there’s little filler here, making it a powerful introduction for one of the era’s biggest names. It’s still seen today as her most defining release.

Forgotten favorites: “No One’s,” “Foxy’s Bells,” “The Promise”

2. Ill Na Na 2: The Fever (unreleased)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Ill Na Na 2 – the female rap Detox. After regaining her buzz with street single “Stylin,” (more songs need a slide whistle), we were promised Ill Na Na 2 was one the way. Wellllll, thanks to beef with Def Jam President Lyor Cohen we’ve been waiting for almost 20 years. In recent years, Ill Na Na 2 has leaked to the Internet in full and it’s some of her most impressive work to date. It’s not perfect (some of the club tracks feel generic even for the mid 00s) but it’s a great blend of Fox’s sexuality, swagger and surprisingly deep introspection. If anything, it feels more like Broken Silence 2 than an Ill Na Na sequel. And speaking of that….

Forgotten favorites: “Cruel Summer,” “Magnetic,” “Fan Love”

1. Broken Silence (2001)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: By 2001, even some of Foxy’s most dedicated fans (myself included) had written her off after years of inconsistency. The Scarlett O’Hara of hip-hop proved us all wrong with her third and greatest release. Inga went back to the hood on this one, embraced her Trinidadian roots and, surprisingly, dove deep to open up about years of insecurity and personal trauma. From family strife to rap beefs, she holds nothing back, making for an authentically personal LP. And best of all, she SOUNDED like Foxy again – no more Smurfette-sounding vocals. It still stands as one of the best female rap records of all time and easily one of the most underrated.

Forgotten favorites: “730,” “Broken Silence,” “Hood Scriptures”

Which Foxy albums are your favorite? Do you think we’ll ever get another album from her? Let us know below.


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