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April 2, 2001

Freddie Foxxx

Freddie FoxxxHave you ever seen the contact number on the back of records? Of course, you have. Everyone has seen them. Well, that’s how I got an interview with Freddie Foxxx. I’ve never interned at a record company. I’m not down with his crew. All I did was call up KJAC Records and ask for an interview. Truthfully, he left me waiting by the phone at our first arranged time. I figured, fuck it, he had never heard of me or ugsmag and went on with my life of smoking weed and going to classes. A week later, he called my house as I was walking out the door.

Damage: Hello.

Freddie Foxxx: Yo, what up? It’s Freddie Foxxx.

D: What’s up? Glad to hear from you. Let me get my tape recorder.

{A couple of minutes later}

D: Okay. All I’m doing is holding a tape recorder up to the phone. If it sounds like I’m not here it’s because I got the mic into the ear piece.

FF: Okay.

D: What is the difference between Freddie Foxxx and Bumpy Knuckles?

FF: I don’t really think it’s a difference. I think it’s more like Bumpy is more like an aggressive I don’t give a fuck type attitude. Freddie Foxxx used to be like that but as I started settling back a little more, the part of me that’s like that has separated from my normal calm down. So I kinda just took the Bumpy thing and used it as a springboard to motherfuckas in the ass.

D: Let me ask you this then. Do you think there is a difference between underground and independent?

FF: I don’t think there is a difference. The titling part of it makes it separate. Most underground artists are independent. Not too many cats that are underground have a major record label deal. Most cats use underground labeling to keep street credibility. But underground is like the difference between the United States Army and the guerillas. The guerillas are independent soldiers. They’re just a bunch of motherfuckas in a neighborhood that’s got guns and army shit and decide to join forces. They don’t really got no big backing. Nothing. See, there’s mainstream hip hop and then there’s underground, it’s more grimy. More dirty. You’re not dependent on budget. Everything comes out of pocket. Let me put it this way. A hip hop record sounds a certain way. It has someone MCing. Someone scratching. A certain sound to it. Someone can make an R and B record with all those things, but you can tell the difference. Mainstream don’t think underground records are marketable because they’ve never sold them before. Hip hop was never really underground at all until mainstream came into play.

D: Would you say being underground would prevent you from doing a video?

FF: I would do a video but I would do it on my terms. It’s not like I would need one. I’m not out to count every record I sell. When my record does what it does, I’m already on to another record. You got people making videos to squeeze every dime out of a record. When I make an album, I set out to sell 150, 000 to 200,000. Y’know, what an independent artist with independent promotion can sell. Bottom line is you still gotta deal with some asshole who is going to say your video is not suitable for his show. So that’s one less motherfucka I gotta crack upside the head. I’d rather make a videotaped movie and sell it on the streets.

D: What artists do you check for?

FF: There ain’t too many motherfuckas I even like. I like certain individual artists. I like M.O.P.. Guys in the same class as me. I think Jadakiss is nice. I think Jay-Z is dope. I like the old Nas. His old shit is dope. All his new shit I’m not really checking for.

D: When your name comes up, the same words always come up. Outspoken Raw. Do you think that’s accurate?

FF: Raw in a sense that I come with a heartfelt music, hell yeah. As far as cursing and being negative, I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s raw in that it’s uncut. I say what I think and what I feel. I don’t like to be censored. I believe that if I’m a man in a quote unquote free world why should I not say what the fuck I want to say. If a girl is sitting in front of me talking about how fly she is and the bitch’s breath is stinking, I’m gonna tell her, “That shit is fucking disgusting. Go brush your fuckin’ teeth.” That’s just how I get down. So if I get on a record and say, “This rapper sucks.” Or I dis a record company executive, that’s because I feel it. I don’t just say shit to be saying it. So when you got a guy that comes along and says it, “Everyone jumps on his dick and says, “You said exactly what I was thinking.”

DD: Actually, that’s what I was about to say about your records was that the people you talk about like Noreaga and DMX, fans say the same shit about them.

FF: Yeah, no doubt. Well, that’s why I make the music. The shit that you say that you feel in your heart. That’s how you connect with your audience. Y’know what I mean? I don’t think that records get old. I think that they are signatures of a person’s personality. Who they depict themselves to be to the public. Once they adopt you as a certain somebody, that is who you become. If it’s fake, down the line you’ll fall. If it’s really you, people will see that. For instance, there can be a kid that wants to be in the music business but isn’t that good. But he’s got a six pack stomach and he’s a handsome kid. They sign him because he looks a certain way. it has nothing to do with music.

D: Is that what made you start your own label?

FF: Yeah, I got tired of people knowing I got the talent but wouldn’t allow me to know how many records I sold. I don’t want to know that I can’t reach you when you got a job to be in a fucking office everyday. But every time you call your not in. I got tired of that shit. That I couldn’t go into the accounting department and make sure I’m getting paid the proper royalty rate. Fuck that shit. I think that’s bullshit that a motherfucker is gonna get paid off what I do. Because you’ve got a chain of command that other people are used to following and we are used to being free with our shit.

D: Was that what happened with your second album?

FF: Crazy Like a Foxxx?

D: Yeah.

FF: It was supposed to come out on Sony. Got caught up in some political bullshit. They tried to sell it on the internet and I made ’em pay me and shit. The fucked up part is that you always gotta fight for your money. Why can’t a motherfucker just break the rules and pay a motherfucker? Motherfuckers always want to keep your paper. I’d feel better if a nigga took a gun and stuck it my face and said, “Fuck you Foxxx, I’m keeping your shit!’ Not that that’s a good thing. Don’t be smiling in my face if under your breath you’re going to be signing a portion of my check over to send your kids to college. Bad enough I got the IRS with a gaffle up my ass. So that’s why I did my own shit. If I got any lawyers, I know their fucking home numbers. Upstairs, downstairs, office, garage, whatever. That way, when I don’t want to be bothered with a motherfucker, I can say, “Fuck you. You’re fired. Have a nice day.”

D: I was surprised when I heard Industry Shakedown at how few collaborations you had considering all the records you’ve been on.

FF: If you put out a record with Nas or Jay-Z and then brag about going platinum, you ain’t doing nothing but riding them niggas coattails.

D: Did all the artists like Missin Lynx, Mykill Miers, and all them call you?

FF: Yup.

D: Do you feel validated by that?

FF: I fell validated in that I don’t have to go out and look for work.

D: What types of music do you listen to?

FF: I listen to everything. Jazz. Fusion. Blues. Everything. Except Hot 97.

D: Why don’t you listen to Hot 97?

FF: Like I want to hear the same song four times an hour. It’s so obvious the record companies are paying them to play their shit. At least disguise it a little.

D: Do you think a kid that’s involved in hip hop today, that’s going out and buying tapes should take the time to check into older records?

FF: I think the culture of hip hop should be a class in every school. It’s a part of black culture, so it should be a part of black history. I think they should have the songs from when it started in libraries all around the world. it’s the only thing I’ve seen that bonds cultures. I’ve seen kids from Japan DJing like they was from the Bronx.

D: How’s that make you feel to see that?

FF: I love that shit, man! Because it shows that we were right. That’s confirmation that we were right about what we did. I think it’s so dope that a music that started as black culture has spread like a virus. Hip hop has crossed every color line ever drawn. Don’t let a motherfucker tell you who you are. If you want to wear black hair and purple lips and earrings all up your ass. Who gives a shit! I saw a Hindu Indian kid in a long yellow robe wearing a pair of Timberlands! Chillin’! I was like, “Yo that’s ill!”

D: Did you think that the big success of white artists in hip hop was inevitable, like with jazz and the blues?

FF: I remember white boys wearing shirts that said disco sucks and we were defending it. Then I realized disco does suck. Hip hop is the shit though. White guys really weren’t into hip hop until like 88 or 89. Right after Guns N Roses started sinking, everybody started coming into the game. It was a crazy thing, white guys making hip hop. Now you don’t even look at them as white guys anymore. They are hip hop artists. It’s so obvious that racism is present though. Like with Eminem, you got stations that don’t even play hip hop playing his songs four times an hour. It’s just like jazz. There was Dizzy Gillespie and everyone loved him and, “oh, he’s great!” Then Kenny G comes along and, “Oh, he’s the greatest jazz player ever!” get the fuck outta here!

D: You’ve converted to Islam. What drew you to that?

FF: I felt the way Islam teaches you responsibility as a man. As far as taking care of your family. I respect that a lot. I respect any man that takes care of his Moms or his kids. Everyone and their mother walks around holding their dicks talking about how tough they are. I think that a man should keep a certain circle of people round him and know that there is a higher power somewhere. You have to make some kind of spiritual amends to God. At the end of the day, when they put me in the dirt, I don’t know what’s going to happen. people act like spirituality is soft. A lot of people pray in secret. I make no secret about praying. And a lot of people in these streets better be happy that I pray too or their would be a lot more dead motherfuckers out there! (laughs).