Freddie Foxxx a.k.a. Bumpy Knuckles

Freddie Foxxx, one of hip-hop's legendary heavyweights (both physically and lyrically), is a bit of a mystery. Despite a career that began in the mid-Eighties, Foxxx has struggled through the past two decades with less than a handful of releases and few guest appearances. Still the self-proclaimed "Rakim with muscles" managed to keep an underground buzz among hardcore heads, until collaborating on OC's 1996 sophomore LP Jewelz ("Win the G" and "M.U.G."). This was shortly followed by the much-hyped Gang Starr collaboration, "The Militia," from 1998's Moment of Truth. Calling himself Bumpy Knuckles (a tribute to his alleged penchant for street scrapping), the reinvented Foxxx garnered much-deserved praise in 2000 when he released Industry Shakedown, thanks in part to solid production by DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Diamond D.

The much-anticipated followup, Konexion, seems lackluster in comparison. Although Foxxx speaks boldly against the mainstream hip-hop industry's reliance on what he calls "Casio beats," his in-house producer Hidden Agenda rocks the presets like an amateur Swizz Beatz, and only DJ Premier's "Lazy!" and Clark Kent's "Stick Em Up" shine musically.

It is a testament to Foxxx's flawless cadence and junkyard growl that the album warrants repeated listening in spite of the mediocre music. His patented battle rhymes sound authentic enough, and when he calls out names ("I seen Shyne go to jail and Q-Tip turn into Maxwell"), he's even better. The fact remains that Freddie Foxxx is crazy charismatic and deserves much better than what Hidden Agenda has to offer.


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