Shaken industry

I have a very vivid memory of Freddy Foxxx, who now calls himself Bumpy Knuckles on his independently released Industry Shakedown. In this memory, he emerges from near obscurity to knock out Grandmaster Melle Mel in a charity boxing match. He wasn’t even considered a presence by the crowd of hip-hop connoisseurs gathered at the event. There were, after all, bigger names present, and bigger muscles. After the bout, he gave Melle Mel the winner’s trophy and bounced.

Freddy Foxxx, the MC with a lion’s heart, doesn’t rhyme. He makes points. And it’s heart that carries his first release in eight years over the top. Music sometimes sounds better when the artist has a certain mystique. Freddy presents himself as the middle-ager out for vengeance on an industry that deemed him expendable long ago. Industry Shakedown is his war cry on the elite powers of the music business. And in true Foxxx fashion, hard beats and angry verses become his battering ram. Oh, yeah, he names names too.

He endears himself to music industry executives ("Mr. Steve Rifkind, suck my balls!"). He gives props to big-name artists ("I’m sick and tired of Noreaga and his ‘What! What! What!’ Either write some rhymes, nigga, or give it up, up, up!"). Foxxx, the wily vet, accepts his age and stance as a one-man army but illustrates, in a cerebral conversation with the legendary Afrika Bambaataa, that he has enough hip-hop history to carry an arsenal.

Foxxx’s music goes for the jugular. He’s the martial artist who fights through a throng of thugs (industry standards) and forces the masters (record execs and fake rappers) to stand and fight for respect, like men.

Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].