There are some who would say, and perhaps rightfully so, that Foxy Brown doesn’t receive the credit she deserves in the greater hip-hop conversation. Looking back on everything she has accomplished throughout her decades-plus tenure in the rap game, it feels like her journey truly kicked off with the release of her 1996 debut album Ill Na Na, a project that featured guest appearances from Jay-Z, Method Man, Havoc, and more.
Today, with the album celebrating its twenty-fourth birthday, it feels right to circle back to one of its biggest hits — a hit that endures to this day — the Jay-Z assisted “I’ll Be.” Boasting a hard-hitting and vaguely melancholic instrumental from Trackmasters, a combination that makes for a unique type of club banger, Foxy takes to the bouncy beat with rugged flow. “What up pop? brace yourself as I ride on top,” she raps. “Close your eyes as you ride right out your socks / Double, lose his mind as he grinds in the Tunnel / Wanna give me the cash he made off his last bundle.”
Though the Jigga Man doesn’t hold it down with a complete verse, his contribution to the chorus should not go without praise. “Straight out the gate y’all, we drop hits,” he raps, catching a slick pocket. “Now tell me, how nasty can you get?” All the while, string hits enhance the vibe, giving “I’ll Be” a notable eighties feel. Check out for yourself now, and show some love to Foxy Brown on her milestone anniversary.
What up pop? brace yourself as I ride on top
Close your eyes as you ride right out your socks
Double, lose his mind as he grinds in the Tunnel
Wanna give me the cash he made off his last bundle