Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Freddie Foxxx (Bumpy Knuckles) - Industry Shakedown (2xLP, 2000)

I didn't know the name Freddie Foxxx before the year 2000. Once I put together who he was, I realized he was one of the dudes from Flavor Unit, and the guest MC from Naughty By Nature's "Hot Potato," which I had been listening to for years. He had been under the radar for years, a victim of shady record deals and other misfortunes. All of a sudden he was back. I think I read an article about him in The Source the same week that my brother got hooked up with a promo copy of this album. The article got me curious; hearing the tracks made me rush out to find the LP.

Bumpy Knuckles (as he's known these days) is an odd one. He demands respect from the industry, but makes music that isn't quite mainstream enough to get any play there, and he wouldn't want it anyway. It makes for some great songs, and this record remains one of my favorite hip hop albums of the era. Bumpy just raps. There's not much pretense, there's not a lot of wasteful hooks. He just talks about how he's a better MC than you, anyone you know, and anyone out there. If you care to disagree, he'll bust your fucking face in.

Bumpy is one of the only rappers I've ever really believed. Just in general. Anything he says. The dude is certifiably huge, and while most rappers are talking guns, he's talking fists. And you can't help but get the vibe that he means what he says, especially on this record. As you can tell from the title, Bumpy's been wronged, and he's back to take what's his. He makes a good case, spending 20 tracks dissecting MCs, the industry, and any motherfucker who dares to get in his way. And it's 90% solid.

The 10% that isn't solid are the skits and interludes, which should have been left off the record, because a lot of them are too long, and a lot of them are just repeating the same shit that he says better in the songs. But when he sticks to rapping, he's hard to beat. Great one-liners and a flow that never gets old.

And the LP came with a full-size comic book starring a futuristic Bumpy. Not bad.

"Who Knows Why?"

1 comment:

Biff Pocaroba said...

I think this album, more than any other new hip-hop album at the time, inspired me while we were making the first CAC record. The beats were up-tempo and catchy, the choruses were few and far between, and his raps were everything I thought raps should be: witty, funny and with clever rhymes hidden throughout. He has no wasted lines. Everything could be a quote. I totally agree with you on the believability of Bumpy. I am scared of the man. I haven't been scared of a rapper since I was 10 and I heard Ice Cube on "Straight Outta Compton." I truly believe that Bumpy would be more than happy to steal your chain after you dare challenge him to a rap battle. And he will beat you up. It makes for an even more entertaining, and often times hilarious listen. The skits are a bit much.