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Freddie Foxxx - conducted by Dale Coachman  

Freddie Foxxx Interview

November 2006

Donít get it confused, Freddie Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles doesnít mid being considered old school but he is not out dated. An artist that disregards trends and a conspiracy theorist that believes that Corporate America is out to destroy hip-hop, he feels that itís up to the 3rd generation artist to bring it back to the fundamentals of what hip-hop was generated from. In January he will be prepped to release the third in his trilogy of albums American Black Man Foxxx discusses the album, life and being Black in America.

Oh and the Rakim thingÖthat is strictly to be kept on wax Freddie feels people get that beef confused. If there is a beef that you have with a person you handle that in the streets and say nothing about it on the airwaves. There is more than Rakim that this veteran artist is going after but he wants it to be known his album and him as a person is made up of more than a beef. Knuckles is here to prove a point, and if you get fine, if notÖfine.

MVRemix: So whatís going on with you?

Freddie Foxxx: American Black Man is my next project, itís a trilogy to what I was doing musically when I did Industry Shakedown and it took a minute to do it but I finally got it done.

MVRemix: The title can you talk about that a little bit?

Freddie Foxxx: Yeah, itís something I came up with initially like at the beginning of my career. I had this idea to do these 3 records and the reason I had Industry Shakedown was because that record would shake everybody up. I like to do things that people donít do. Connection wasnít as intense as Industry Shakedown and a few people felt like it was a good transition but me personally I wouldíve like to do a whole different approach to it, but Iím glad I didnít. The album did what it was supposed to do. American Black Man is like a mix of Industry Shakedown and what Connection was supposed to be. With a lot of my opinions Iím a very opinionated person.

MVRemix: So what things do you feel very strongly about in society or maybe even in hip-hop?

Freddie Foxxx: I feel strongly about a lot of things it just depends on how relevant the subject is in my life and the peopleís lives Iím in connection with. In reference to life period I feel strongly about people, kind of just standing by what it is they do. In hip-hop I think thatís more relevant because we do music that went from a ďbeingĒ into a ďstateĒ at this point, and everybody and their momma thinks they know what hip-hop is. Itís always something to debate about. There is one core recipe we have to use for this and all that other shit is extra. A lot of times I see people trying to forget about where hip-hop came from, trying to delete that from their mind because people are looking down on longevity and thatís foul to me.

MVRemix: Thatís interesting because I have asked a couple of artists that question about what is hip-hop and what it means to them. What does hip-hop mean to your life?

Freddie Foxxx: Itís my life Iíve been hip-hop forever, its really just a raw expression of who you are and who we are but the elementsÖwhen people are on stage and the DJ has no needle or turntable their missing something and their standing back their posing. Graffiti artists have now become people who do magazines and what weíre writing about in these hip-hop magazines has to be a bit more back to the basics. Weíre forgetting about the basics. Someone asked me about doing some work with John Cena (Professional Wrestler) and they said, ďDo you think that thatís hip-hop?Ē, and I said, ďAnything I do Iím going to bring the hip-hop element and add it to that.Ē I mean there are cats that call themselves bringing that hip-hop element on a raw hip-hop record but when you add melodies and a singer they start getting soft. Their not doing it right and thatís what I mean when I say that. As far as break-dancing and all that stuff Iím sure that those things will change. I mean kids are doing dances now that are replicas of what we did back in the days but people are forgetting about the element. If youíre going to go back in history and take something and expound on it at least you have to have the elements to do that.

MVRemix: What is your feeling or opinion on what hip-hop is right now?

Freddie Foxxx: You know what the problem is, what corporate America is trying to doÖI honestly believe in my heart that there is a conspiracy to destroy the music and when you get groups that arenít even ten years old thatís part of the conspiracy. I mean when you hear records on the radio that their calling throwbacks, whenever you title something and call it old thatís when you have a problem and everybody will deal with that. Me and Nas had a conversation one time and I said, ďLet me tell you something god son, when you become a 34-35 year old rapper people will start calling you old school.Ē and he started laughing.Ē and he said, ďYeahĒ but he called me recently and he said, ďremember when you told me that Foxxx?Ē, and I said, ďyeahĒ he was like, ďit happened, some dude called me old school.Ē Thereís nothing wrong with being old school but you have to watch out for titles when people start giving you brands that put you in archives. So the fight is to try to stay current and people with these titles their blowing the game away because people donít know how far back they can reach. They donít hear about you so you have to fight that stigma. I mean the stuff thatís coming out on the radio does that sound anything to you like hip-hop? Weíre supposed to change and grow is guys from that 3rd generation hip-hop, the guys like the De La Soulís, Pete Rockís and Gangstarrís, all those guys are still guys that are gonna be current.

MVRemix: I had this conversation with someone earlier but when guys like you, Pete Rock, Primo and Nas are done, where do you see hip-hop going in the future because to me itís really scary?

Freddie Foxxx: Yeah, it does and the thing is if they start playing EPMD on the radio and EPMD goes into the studio and makes an album that has todayís subject matter, if they play that on the radio I think it can make a good stand in the future. When you start making records and mixing hip-hop with a lit of different things, I notice now when you listen to R&B records the same artists that you hear on an R&B song thatís rapping ainít the same artist you hear rapping on a rap record. What their doing is watering it down and anything that you water down eventually you get rid off because it disappears and itís thinning out the elements.

MVRemix: Well the reality is for a lot artists rap now for them is a job so the art is not really the priority the priority is to make money...but do you feel like artists have a responsibility to their audience? White people buy the music but youth of color are the ones that get affected by it.

Freddie Foxxx: Yeah I know because I read a lot of articles and I read the blogs I can tell in those statements that people make is that a lot of those opinions are White kids. It seems like they just donít know and their making hip-hop what they want it to be and the fact that they go back and consume so much hip-hop they donít understand what it took to make that record. A lot of these rap dudes now are afraid to grow into a new era but you donít have to change. When I heard the dirty south dudes come up I thought that was dope!!! I said wow hip-hop grew another branch, but when I saw the New York rappers start talking about ďwartyĒ and all that down south slang that they normally wouldnít use its reminded me of when everybody became a Jamaican. I donít see corporate America trying to make any rap legends. When you have legendary guys like Rakim, Kane or Nas and when you look down to hip-hop and say this is what he brought thatís when you have legends, but I donít see any guysÖlike thereís a lot of rappers out now that I canít see, they may be rich and all of that but I canít people saying 20, 30 or 50 years from now saying this dude was a legend. I mean you got six months to get it poppin in the streets or itís a wrap. Thatís why I donít follow trends. Thatís why I do what I do, when I want to do it and what the hell I want to do and people that like me like me, people that love me love me, and people that hate me hate me, and I donít give a fuck I just keep it popping, I donít get caught up in all that shit.

MVRemix: So have the record companies tried to box you in and what does that conversation sound like?

Freddie Foxxx: The good thing about me is thereís been times when Iíve gone to a record company it donít take me but one time to get that picture and Iím out. Iíve been in meetings and people would say oh my god this is so musical the baselines, I mean people donít even use baselines in records anymore. I never thought Iíd see the day where people donít have a baseline in their record. So they have their 808ís and their stomping through the records but the groove is gone and New York is about grooves. Iíve sat in labels and they say this shit sounds so funky but how do I present a Freddie Foxxx to New York and Iím like excuse me Iím out. Let me tell you something, when a person follows you and now you have to follow them youíre walking in a circle because if there is no trade off between the new and the old your never going to have growth. Like I love these young that battle like the ďFight ClubĒ guys, like Murda Mookís and the Serious Jonesís I love all those dudes but I could teach them how to make a record.

MVRemix: So how many tracks to do you have on the album?

Freddie Foxxx: I recorded close to 100 records. And Iíve narrowed it down to about 23 but I think I will shave it down to between 15-18 records. Now what I did agree to do was put a new song on each record thatís not on the album.

MVRemix: How did you go about who you wanted on the production side of the album?

Freddie Foxxx: You know there are a certain set of producers that go with my ideas like the Premieres, the Pete Rocks, and the Alchemists and guys like DJ Scratch and then you go those guys that are influenced by those guys that have their elements but bring a new type of vibe. Guys like King Carnoff who I worked with, Kev Brown, Odissee and DJ Ruckus who came out of my camp.

MVRemix: When was the first time you realized you were Black in America?

Freddie Foxxx: I realized when I was a kid and I ran up to this police officer and the shit scared the hell out of me and I may have been 12 years old and me and one of my boys were building a bicycle and the bike shop was closed and I didnít know what time it was open and I ran up to this police officer (White) and I ran behind him and tapped him on his back and I said, ďExcuse me Mr. Cop can you tell me what time it is?Ē, and he turned around and takes his finger and points it in my forehead and he said, ďI donít call you nigger and you donít call me cop.Ē That scared me because up until that point I always knew I was Black but I wasnít made to feel like Black was a bad thing and at that point that changed my life. My first altercation with racism came from the police and I started paying attention and seeing it more. I started watching TV a different way and started seeing peopleís attitudes in a different way.

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"If youíre going to go back in history and take something and expound on it at least you have to have the elements to do that."