We need to talk about the shots you’re firing at Remy Ma. It’s problematic and it won’t end well.
But first, let me explain why I feel the need to write to you. You might be able to relate.
I have no idea why Desiigner spells his name with two i’s. I can’t keep up with all of the Internet challenges that come and go. I do not whip. I do not nae-nae. I don’t understand why Lil Yachty is a thing. And all I can think of when I see the video for “Bad and Boujee” is how problematic the imagery is from a feminist point of view.
Clearly, I’m an Old Person. I’m 43. I have lived and breathed hip-hop culture since its start in the late ‘70s. I’ve covered the industry as a journalist for nearly 20 years. But I know when to pull back just a bit and watch from afar.
While you may not realize it, you’re an Old Person too. I know you’re five years younger than me. But you hit the scene at just seventeen years old in the late ‘90s. (The ‘90s. What a time to be alive.)
We’ve both got twenty years in the game. So it’s fine (necessary even) for us to stay up on who’s who and what’s hot. But why on earth have you inserted yourself into a one-way rap battle between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj? Remy dropped two diss records, Nicki remains unbothered and then you upload a teaser of a song aimed at Remy?
Also, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but did you just have a baby this week? Look, I got back to work just days after I had my kid too. I get it. But is a diss record really what you want to expend your energy on?
And I wish I didn’t have to say this Foxy… But your song, “Breaks Over,” is just not very good. Your flow is stilted. Your punchlines are meh. You sound like a shell of your former self.
Don’t you know who you are? YOU ARE FOXY BROWN. No matter what they say, Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj have nothing but respect for you. And as fellow New Yorkers, you know they looked up to you and thought of you as a legend long before they ever touched a mic.
Foxy, you went into a studio, at age sixteen and went up against some of the hottest rappers in the game at the time. And you ripped them all to shreds. (Was your verse ghostwritten? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter. You owned that song. )
For the next several years, your albums, features and guest appearances had classic status. Although things mellowed out for you, the love you get in the industry has never wavered.
Lauryn Hill has never truly regained the heights of her career in the late ‘90s. With just a few poorly-received projects and more notoriety, she still manages to remain her iconic status. She tours, shows up late and still commands an audience. We respect her because she’s Lauryn Hill and she carries herself like a (quirky) legend. Nicki Minaj herself literally bowed down in Lauryn’s presence.
That’s who you are to women in hip-hop. The same way you look up to MC Lyte and Roxanne Shante, women look up to you. Treasure that. Don’t get on their level.
One more thing. You titled your song “Breaks Over” — I’m not sure if that means you’re returning to hip-hop with actual music or just to insulting other rappers.
A brief recap: Lil Kim, Eve, Queen Latifah, Queen Pen, Remi, Jackie-O, Heather B., Lady of Rage, Natina Reid, Trina, Charli Baltimore, Ms. Jade. This is a sample of all the women you’ve insulted on wax over the past twenty years. You don’t want that to be legacy, Foxy. Let your work stand for itself.
And remember Foxy, just about every woman you’ve rapped about was once a friend. You circle between comrade and enemy year after year.
Fox Boogie, are there any woman over 35 in hip-hop? Let’s just be honest here. Most of the legends, (Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Monie Love) have moved on to careers in media as producers and talent. Don’t think they can’t still spit. But they’ve leveraged their talent in a way that allows them to honor their past and control their future.
You can do the same. It’s either that or you’ll eventually find yourself battling a rapper who’s in kindergarten right now.
(Photos from left: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage, Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)