September 25, 2007

Freddie Foxxx (Bumpy Knuckles) - Industry Shakedown (June 20, 2000)


Frederick Manchester Foxxx, who was born James Campbell but legally changed his name to Bumpy Knuckles on February 31, 1997, has been in the rap game for a hot minute. Several hot minutes. About three decades worth. He's rapped alongside such legends as Eric B & Rakim, Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, M.O.P., and I believe even Jesus Christ himself, and he's outshined every single one of them, what with his trademarked gruffness and hardcore delivery that makes you want to listen to every word he has to say, and not just because he'll probably pistol-whip the shit out of you. His first album saw a release in 1989, and I'll be honest, I've never heard a single song from it; all I know is that Eric B co-produced every song on it with Freddie himself, so I'm sure at least the music is good. He recorded a second album that was shelved indefinitely, and Freddie Foxxx seemed to vanish.


Okay, he never really vanished; I'm sure he was around, honing his craft. The first time I ever noticed him, though, was, on GangStarr's "Militia", off of their comeback album Moment of Truth, and he beat the instrumental to death (with his bare hands) and carried its carcass into the annals of hip hop history. I later learned that he guested on M.O.P.'s "I Luv", another song that fucking rocked (thanks in no small part to DJ Premier's production work). In no time at all, a buzz found itself circling this "brand new" old school artist, so Freddie rounded up some of the best producers in hip hop, in addition to crafting some beats himself, and his new "second" album, Industry Shakedown, was born.


Industry Shakedown, by its mere title alone, could never be released on a major label, since he spends the majority of the time talking about how rappers fall victim to Industry Rule #4080 (for the uninitiated, that was a reference to A Tribe Called Quest's "Check The Rhime", on which Q-Tip states the obvious: "Record company people are shaaaady...", but I'm sure most of my two readers already knew that). His Bumpy Knuckles persona threatened to take hardcore New York-based hip hop to new levels; as such, Industry Shakedown was met with critical acclaim and sold a decent amount of copies; not exactly Curtis Jackson numbers, but enough to respectfully prove to major labels that they didn't know shit about Bumpy. The table was set for a hostile takeover by the East Coast, something that hip hop fans had been wanting for a long time.
And then he decided to co-sign the debut by a rapping wrestler.


Can't win them all. Let's see if Industry Shakedown lives up to the hype, seven years later.


1. LIVE @ THE ROXY 2000
Rap album intro. I suppose since this was recorded live at a concert, I should let it go. But honestly?


2. 24 HRS
In 2000, I don't think this song bothered me. Today, though, the echoes are freaking annoying; it makes the song sound worse than it should. The actual song doesn't even start until the one minute twenty-one second mark, and the echoing continues throughout the entire damn song! Try it; you're sure to get frustrated.


3. TELL 'EM I'M HERE
Pretty atypical Alchemist production work; it doesn't sound especially gangsta, considering the artist and the hook. I personally believe that Bumpy would have sounded fantastic over a different Al Maman track; maybe the "Bang Bang" instrumental that he wasted on Capone and Noreaga?

4. BAMBAATAA & BUMPY TALK INDUSTRY
Yes, it's a skit (that would have just been a bizarre song title, anyway). It's not like Freddie doesn't have a point, though.

5. INSIDE YOUR HEAD
So far, the weakest production offered on Industry Shakedown is Bumpy's own. However, if the entire album was produced by Primo, what would we have? Oh yeah, an entire album produced by Primo.
Sigh...


6. WHO KNOWS WHY?
One of the weaker Pete treats I've heard in a while, but the lyrics more than compensate.

7. SEARCHIN' (FEAT TERESA GRIFFIN)
Don't try to strain your brain; you don't know who Teresa Griffin is, either.

8. NEVER BOW DOWN
Skit.


9. INDUSTRY SHAKEDOWN
Pete Rock actually brings three tracks to the table; this is the second best one. It sounds like some discarded Soul Survivor instrumental; however, this is not a bad thing. Freddie Foxxx comes off as a fucking superhero, waging war against the evil Record Labels, which I guess is the point, kind of like a less subtle "You Can't Stop The Prophet".


10. MCS COME AND MCS GO
A better instrumental by Bumpy. I love the "I'm so hard that after me/You need a Will Smith song to appreciate life" line, and you will, too. The Scary Spice reference, oddly enough, was dated in 2000, but actually works today.


11. BUMPY BRING IT HOME (FEAT BILLY DANZ)
Diamond D brings Bumpy a track that my tired mind cannot place for the life of me; I know I've heard this beat somewhere else, maybe in a slightly different form, or a faster time signature. Billy Danz is left to his own devices on the hook.


12. LIVE IN TOKYO WITH DJ RUKAS
Skit.


13. BUMPY KNUCKLES BABY
Only a great hip hop producer could give tracks to artists as far apart on the spectrum as Freddie Foxxx and, say, Phife Dawg (only because I just wrote about him), and have them both sound fantastic. This is the best Pete treat on Industry Shakedown, dirty drums, sparse keys, and all.


14. R.N.S.
DJ Premier blessed Bumpy with two instrumentals for Industry Shakedown. One, "A Part of My Life" (which I'll get to below) is a great track. "R.N.S." (short for "Real N---a Shit"), though, is, to put it plainly, Fucking. Amazing. When I first heard this song back in 2000, the beat literally punched me in the abdomen, tore my rib cage out of my chest, and stomped on my trachea. I crawled out of my grave with one sole purpose: to relay to my future blog readers that this song rocks. Except now my throat hurts.


15. STOCK IN THE GAME
This sounds more like the Alchemist you were expecting. Kinda gimmicky to put your child on your record, though; thankfully, that only lasts for like seven seconds.


16. INTELLIGENT THUG - BUMPY'S THEORY
Bumpy's theory actually makes sense; probably explains how the Dip Set movement came about.


17. FEEL LIKE I BEEN HERE
The closest thing that Bumpy has to a "song for the ladies", and even that description is pushing it.

18. THE MASTAS (FEAT M.O.P.)
Come on! The Mash Out Posse is on here! How bad can it possibly be? I'll tell you; it's not as hype as you would expect. A disappointment.


19. A PART OF MY LIFE
The first single, and a song that still sounds great today. This would be the Primo track for the backpackers, but don't let that critique prevent you from hearing this.


20. LIVE @ THE ROXY 2000 (OUTRO)
Whatever.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Industry Shakedown is not Bumpy's debut album, and for all I know, his first CD sounds exactly like this one, but I found this CD entertaining for the most part. There are some severe missteps, but nothing fatal (some of Bumpy's production work sounds amateurish when compared with Pete Rock and DJ Premier, but let's be honest, so would yours). And "R.N.S." has such a great fucking beat, you would probably want to hear it if it were called "Fake N---a Shit" and was performed by Vanilla Ice, it's that good. Industry Shakedown is the album that Curtis Jackson only wishes he could make, if only he weren't the fucking industry.


BUY OR BURN? I'd recommend a purchase, especially since you'll probably find this for less than five bucks. A few of the tracks are meh, but there are a handful of songs that bring the "Militia" memories back in full force, so for those alone, you won't be sorry.


BEST TRACKS: "R.N.S."; "A Part of My Life"; "Bumpy Knuckles Baby"; "Industry Shakedown"


-Max

16 comments:

  1. Yep. We definitely have the same box of albums. I remember when I picked this up. I never heard the end of it from co-workers who found the name Bumpy Knuckles endlessly hilarious.

    As for Ugly Betty, I did one day of visual effects supervising for the show. We shot some greenscreen fx stuff for the first episode of this season. (I think it's for the first ep...I haven't seen it nor do I know if it aired or not). Look for a guy getting off a bus! That's my handiwork.

    (And before you ask...yes, I saw Vanessa Williams and she's freakishly gorgeous.)

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  2. Confession time: I've never even heard of this guy.

    However, it's 55 cents plus 2.98 shipping !NEW! from amazon, so i already put it in my shopping cart.

    hopefully i wont be disappointed :)
    nice review, thanks for the comments on the mos def. Im pretty sure you and I have the same two readers.

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  3. I love RNS too. Great song. The beat is so hard. A largely overlooked gem from DJ Premier's portfolio.

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  4. Great writeup, Max. I'll need to check this out at least for the beats alone.

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  5. 2 hours ago i went to amazon.com to check out the audio sample of R.N.S.

    I've finally stopped shaking so i can type this comment on how ridiculous that beat is

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  6. I copped this, after researching on the guy, after I saw him on the 'rapping wrestlers' video. Things like that have their advantages too. And he was picked as 'The Rapper You Wouldnt Want To Meet In A Dark Alley' on some other blog that I was traversing across.

    PS - You got 5 readers Max. :) You're a sellout.

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  7. I was introduced to Fred via the Flava Unit compilation album Roll Wit Tha Flava. He had one of the better tracks on the album and I recommend it if you dig that early 90’s party hip hop. Lately, he’s been ragging on Rakim and even challenging the God to a lyrical sparring match. Ragging is not an appropriate term. Try crying like a little girl about what could have been the outcome of his career had Rakim did not step into the picture years ago. Anyway, he had some pretty interesting things to say about Rakim but history has been written.

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  8. I swear to god I have bought this album twice (although neither time from an actual record shop: one was from an Amazon marketplace seller, the second was a 'free gift' type thing for spending a certain amount at hhv.de) and both discs have been labelled as the album CD but have only contained three tracks - clean, dirty & instrumentals of 'Tell Em I'm Here'.

    I'm in despair. Reading reviews like this makes me want to hear it, but I'll be damned if I'm spending more money just to end up with a THIRD copy of his fucking single, in the album packaging. I always wondered if this was how he managed to sell so many copies of it, by forcing people to buy it 5 times on the offchance that they might actually end up with the album disc...

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  9. i like this review, this album is definitely the type of album i want to get, after checking out freddie foxx, hes fucking raw as hell, im definitely getting this!!!

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  10. I remember purchasing this album when it dropped in the summer of 2000. Before I purchased the album, I never heard a song or even a clip. I just purchased it because I knew it was a Freddie Foxx album and I would not be disapointed. Imagine if the whole album had been produced by Dj Premier or even Pete Rock? I think it would have been a perfect album. I give it an 8 out of 10.

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  11. I bought a brand new copy of this album for five bucs on eBay, but I've encountered the same problem that Tom above has! What the hell??

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  12. Alright, so a couple of weeks later I've now got a legit copy (via Sandbox Automatic - good site).

    Hard shit indeed. Love it.
    If only Primo had made a few more tracks, because damn, his couple are absolute fire.

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  13. Freddie Foxxx actually had an album shelved back in 1994 called "Crazy Like a Foxxx". There's two versions and one of them only involves the D.I.T.C. Interestingly, the beat for the title track became the beat for Big L's "Da Graveyard" a year later.

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  14. Tile GroutMarch 18, 2012

    I really, really like Freddie Foxxx's rap style, production work, etc. This album is fantastic... But not quite at the level of the "Crazy Like A Fox" album(s) noted by Outsider in the post just above. In particular the DITC version has some of the darkest, heaviest East Coast beats (with horns even) that I've ever come across. Which means it's right up my alley even though I'm a fairly happy individual. Seeing as it was judged by the label to have very limited commercial appeal, even in the early 90s, Freddie self-produced a second version. With imaginative lyrics in songs like "Reverend Glock" and some really solid beats to back them up, I came out of my first listen with some serious respect for Freddie Foxxx.

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  15. AnonymousMay 17, 2015

    Actually, Bumpy has 2 more Pete treats: The ChanceSellor & Mind Frame. Both really worth your time, fellow reader. Oh, and Max... Who Knows Why is the best Pete treat on this album, while Bumpy Knuckles Baby is the worst, despite it being a very fucking good song.
    Hate admitting this but: Pete BARELY edges out Primo's work here.

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  16. The sample on track 11, why it sounds so familiar,is because it was used a year before by Naughty by Nature, on the song "Dirt All by My Lonely" and yes, it was in faster form!!!!

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