Freddie Foxxx Konexion

Freddie Foxxx’s resume stretches back to the ’80s, an achievement not to be scoffed at in the short attention span world of hip-hop. Having been affiliated with crews such as the Flava Unit, BDP and more recently Gang Starr, Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles has been laying down devastating cameo appearances for years. But it was Industry Shakedown, his merciless triumph of controlled anger that knocked any shady record execs and unsuspecting whack MCs out of his path, that ensured people are still pricking up their ears when they hear his inimitable voice on record. On the surface Konexion isn’t much different than its predecessor. Foxxx’s intimidating presence means he doesn’t suffer fools gladly and blingy figures such as Nelly and Jermaine Dupri are targeted while he offers up his own purist hip-hop brand. But there are some significant differences. Noticeably missing is the all-star production line-up Bumpy usually commands. While DJ Premier checks in with two certified bangers "Paine” and "Lazy!,” most of the production is handled by Hidden Agenda, aka Foxxx himself, and while the beats are serviceable, they’re hardly outstanding. As if to compensate, Foxxx ups the testosterone ante and tries to be more versatile. Bouncy Southern style rap is the mode for "Step Up” and his offspring rhyme on a couple of tracks proves he wasn’t joking when he once uttered "I'ma die with rhymin’ kids and a rhymin’ wife.” These attempts at growth yield mixed results, highlighting that Bumpy is at his best when possessed by a furious and focused tunnel vision. (BBE)