Foxy Brown 'Ill Na Na' cover Foxy Brown 'Ill Na Na' cover

What Millennials Should Know About... Foxy Brown 'Ill Na Na'

To celebrate Black Music Month, VIBE spotlights some of music's most essential timepieces for Gen Y to get hip to

FOXY BROWN
Ill Na Na (1996)

Most Slept On: It’s strange that the title track to Foxy’s landmark album would also be the song most slept-on. Ill Na Na was never released as an official single and although Method Man appears on the song, there was no video for the track.

The level of sex-fueled braggadocio on "Ill Na Na" is dizzying, (and just a bit disconcerting, considering Foxy was barely seventeen when she recorded it). Thematically, she’s all over the place on her verses, shutting down fellow rappers who think they can compete and then putting her boo in his place if he thinks she’s coming straight home from the club.

(She actually talks about leaving for a ladies' night out while her man is standing by the microwave cooking. She kisses the baby goodnight and then says she might be coming home later. She was seventeen! When I was seventeen I was still wondering if I should make an emergency breakthrough on Darnell’s phone because I was getting a busy signal. Wait. Y’all millennials don’t know about emergency breakthroughs do you?! Ah well. It was a Thing. Trust me. )

Think of the song "Ill Na Na" this way. There’s a verse in the late Maya Angelou’s classic poem, “Still I Rise,” in which she says:

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Foxy Brown’s "Ill Na Na" track is essentially that Maya Angelou verse, except with a foul mouth, a ‘90s spin and a sample of The Commodores “Brickhouse.”

The message, hammered home by Method Man in the chorus, is simple: My vagina is better than any other vagina in the whole wide world and it is so special that it will intoxicate you and make you buy me nice things. The end.

It wasn’t the first time a female rapper raised eyebrows by spitting about the diamond at the meeting of her thighs. But her brusque and gruff delivery and true ability to spit as well as her male contemporaries gave the song sit-up-and-take-notice status.

Lines Best For Status Updates:
-“She’s all about sex?/Pardon, check your facts/and the track record/I’m all about plaques" (“Ill Na Na”)
- “Leave my boo by the microwave/kiss the baby goodnight/it's my time to shine/it's playtime tonight” (“Ill Na Na”)
- “I push the V/Not the backseat girl” (“I’ll Be”)
- “To the tilt/that’s just the way I‘m built/Nasty/But classy still” (“I’ll Be”)
-“I realized you was misleading me/I should have known/You left the last chick to be with me” (“If I”)
-“Ladies take this oath from Fox/repeat this/love thy self put no one above thee/cause ain’t nobody gon’ love me like me” (“I’ll Be”)
-“Marry who? Daddy please/I’m taking it all from the stash to the keys” (“Get You Home”)
-"If I could take this back I would/If I could rewind the time to when it was all good/I would" (“If I”)
-"While I’m getting dressed/This ain’t yo pad/I left some money on the dresser/find you a cab" (“Ill Na Na”)

Bet You Didn’t Know: Although Foxy’s beef with fellow sexpot rapper Lil Kim has been well documented, the two started out as friends. In fact, on the song Ill Na Na, Foxy name-checks her future frenemy: Loving this life/waiting for Kim album to drop/knowing it’s tight.

Bet You (Also) Didn’t Know: Foxy recorded that line before Kim’s album was released but Lil Kim’s debut Hard Core actually ended up dropping exactly one week before Ill Na Na. The competing release dates and in fighting from their camps is often cited as the reason for their initial riff.

Synopsis: Imagine a 16 year-old girl free-styling in a talent show and catching the ear of a few producers. And now imagine those producers put her on a posse-track with the hottest rappers out right now, maybe Kendrick, J. Cole, Drake and Jay Z. And imagine she rips it. To the point that no one is talking about anything but her and her deep-throated growl. That’s what happened in 1995 when Foxy Brown appeared out of the clear blue sky on LL Cool J’s remix to “I Shot Ya.” The song was stacked with vets like Prodigy and Fat Joe but all anyone could talk about was the girl who rapped hard enough to hold her own. (Fourteen years later, Nicki Minaj would replay this exact feat, when she introduced herself to the world by going toe-to-toe with (and outshining) Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Kanye West on "Monster".)

After the success of "I Shot Ya," Foxy quickly racked up hits with Toni Braxton, Case, Jay Z and BlackStreet, becoming a hip-hop household name before she even had a deal.

Ill Na Na as a whole doesn’t quite stack up to the flurry of buzzy singles Foxy dropped before she started recording her debut album. But taken at face value, Ill Na Na remains a tour-de-force. Foxy was by no means the first female rapper to get respect from her male counterparts. Latifah, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shante were all able to stake their claim as purely dope rappers, not just dope female rappers. But Foxy was one of the first to garner respect (and lust) in and out of the booth.—Aliya S. King

Aliya S. King's is the author of two novels and three non-fiction books, including the New York Times Bestseller, Keep The Faith, with recording artist Faith Evans. She had written for VIBE since 1998. Find her at aliyasking.com and @aliyasking.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Roy Rochlin

Kanye West Claims Drake Threatened Him And His Family

Things are growing more intense between Kanye West and Drake. Only hours after Kanye's first rant, he hopped back on Twitter on Dec. 13, for part two. Only this time, Ye alleged that Drake threatened him.

In the second part of his Twitter rant, Kanye claimed that his phone call with Drizzy took a violent turn. "Drake called trying to threatened me," he wrote. "So Drake if anything happens to me or anyone from my family you are the first suspect. So cut the tough talk."

It's unclear what Drake may have said to Kanye, but the Kids See Ghosts artist definitely seemed to be bothered by the situation.

Ye also touched on their previous feud, in which he claimed Drake was taunting him in public, but would refuse to sit down and hash out their differences. "How you gone text Kris but not speak to me," he said, referencing his mother-in-law Kris Jenner.

As previously mentioned, Kanye's latest tirade comes shortly after the rapper put Drake on blast for not returning his phone calls. He stopped tweeting for a short period when he announced that Drake had finally given him a call.

While Kanye stated that he would not physically harm Drake like "MTV boxing," he did say that he would not be bullied or threatened by him any longer. "You trying to be a bully. I never been bullied in my life and I never will be," he said. "That’s why I made it this far in a pink polo."

Check out Kanye's Twitter rant below.

Drake called trying to threatened me

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

So drake if anything happens to me or anyone from my family you are the first suspect So cut the tough talk

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

It just doesn’t sit right on my spirit

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

He be texting people I know like it’s cool But won’t sit and talk with me

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

There would never be a drake without a Kanye west so never come out your mouth with a threat

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

We both too high profile for you to actually do something to me

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

You [email protected] people with mental health issues

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

You say all this shut to me but won’t say none of that to J prince

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

Talk tough to real gangsters bro

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

You trying to be a bully. I never been bullied in my life and I never will be. That’s why I made it this far in a pink polo

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

I’m up for talking. We need to show all of these fans that black men [email protected] without someone ending up dead or in jail

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

We need to show the world that we will speak without someone ending up dead or in jail

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

How you gone text Kriss but not speak to me

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

Drake I’m not going to physically fight you like it’s MTV boxing

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

Nobody scared of anything

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

Leave me and my family alone bro

— ye (@kanyewest) December 14, 2018

Continue Reading
Jamie McCarthy

Pharrell And Robin Thicke To Pay $5 Million In "Blurred Lines" Lawsuit

Marvin Gaye's estate has finally settled its lawsuit against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke regarding their 2013 hit single "Blurred Lines." A federal judge reportedly ordered the duo to fork over nearly $5 million in damages to the Gaye family, Billboard reports.

According to a ruling from Judge John A. Kronstadt, Thicke, Williams and William's company More Water From Nazareth Publishing Inc. will each have to pay $2,848,846.50 in damages. Thicke will have to pay an additional $1,768,191.88 and Williams and his publishing company will pay another $357,630.96 to the Gaye family in separate payments regarding their lawsuit. In total, the damages amount to $4,983,766.85.

The Gaye estate is also entitled to receive interest on the damages against each party and will receive a  running royalty of half the "Blurred Lines" revenue.

As previously reported, Marvin Gaye's estate filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Williams and Thicke back in 2013. They claimed their single sampled Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" without permission. Both Williams and Thicke's legal team attempted to get the case thrown out but were denied an appeal in Mar. 2018.

Continue Reading
John Phillips

Oprah Responds To Viral Video Of Her Eating Unseasoned Chicken

A hilarious old video of Oprah Winfrey making an uncomfortable face as she dives into a piece of unseasoned chicken has been circulating the Internet all week. While these sort of silly videos wouldn't usually garner a response from the billionaire, Oprah surprised everyone when she shared a video explaining the chicken-eating experience and her initial reaction.

To give you some context, the video is a clip from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006, in which O invited her guest Anna Ginsberg to make her award-winning chicken dish. After one bite, it became clear that Oprah wasn't too pleased with the chicken's bland taste. She even asked at the time if she could add a little seasoning.

I often think about the time Oprah did a cooking segment with a woman whose chicken recipe won $1 million, and Oprah's jaw dropped when she tasted it and realized the lady didn't even add seasoning pic.twitter.com/rfs7PS1Jc3

— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) December 9, 2018

Now, more than 10 years later, Oprah is setting the record straight. In her new video posted on Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 13), she noted that she likes to provide a pleasurable experience for her guests but also live in her truth. On that particular day, she was presented with a dilemma. "I was having a moment of trying to decide: Do I want her to have a great time? What is my real moment of truth?" she said. "Because the truth for me was that I'm used to having salt and pepper on my chicken. That's just the truth...That's what I was thinking, 'This chicken needs some salt and pepper.'"

So that's that; Oprah has spoken. She may have played it off at the time, but like many others, she would prefer her chicken with seasoning.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Over the weekend, a 2006 video of @oprah tasting an *interesting* chicken dish made its rounds online. We asked the O of O, what REALLY went through her mind as the cameras were on her—and she answered. Swipe left if you haven’t seen the hysterical video! #tbt

A post shared by O, The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) on Dec 13, 2018 at 7:13am PST

Continue Reading

Top Stories