Every rapper wishes they were an actor. LL Cool J set the stage for the legions of rappers who...
DJBooth Album Review
Much rarer than the raptor is the actor turned rapper, or in Jamie Foxx’s case the actor turned r&b singer. Not only has Foxx made the transition from the screen to the stereo, he’s done so with astounding success, racking up multiple hit singles to go along with his Oscar. To be fair, the music game is nothing new for Foxx, whose been playing the piano since he was a kid. In fact, the man’s so established he’s now on his third album, Intuition, a feature-heavy trip through modern r&b’s peaks and valleys. From club anthems to slow jams, Intuition’s range firmly moves Foxx from the “good for an actor” category to just “flat-out good.”
Intuition divides very nicely into separate sections, starting with the club banger portion of the program. The speaker knocking starts with Number One, a Just Blaze produced joint that hits with minimal flair, subsisting on a drum loop, snare claps and not much else (think a high-energy version of A Milli). Speaking of which, Weezy stops by for a mentally imbalanced guest verse, but as much as Wayne might steal the spotlight, we have to remember this is a Foxx track – and his contributions are minimal. Foxx is an actor, so it’s not surprising to see him play the swaggering rapper role, but the auto-tune strips all the humanity from his voice, leaving him a vocal shell of his usual self. By contrast, I Don’t Need It lets Jamie be himself, resulting in one of the best tracks on the album. Don’t Need It finds Foxx using the same old-school voice he employed on Gold Digger, embedding his verses with a world wise weary quality that makes Don’t Need It repeat worthy. If Intuition proves anything, it’s that while Foxx may have some friends in high places, he’s not made for speed.
The central portion of Intuition is dedicated almost entirely to mid-tempo jams, usually with a couple verses from some of his famous friends thrown in for good measure. Take the lead single Just Like Me, a track that has Foxx admitting he can’t blame his girl for cheating because she’s “just like me.” The Dream and Tricky Stewart production is stellar, a bouncing beat that’s part guitar, part rider and all catchy. To top things off, T.I. delivers a quick flow that’s far from classic but more than enough to get the job done. Mark my words, Just Like Me will be a hit. Unfortunately, not all the collaborations on Intuition work so well, starting with the regrettable Digital Girl. Digital Girl is essentially an attempt at making another Ayo Technology, minus the dope beat and plus a couple throwaway verses from Kanye. In the end it’s simple; Foxx isn’t nearly as good when he’s drowned out by heavy electronic instrumentation, especially when crooning corny lines like, “I just upgraded to 1080 just for you.” Foxx needs to stay Unpredictable, not stoop to tired material like Digital Girl.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good slow jam, but where Intuition won me over is in its closing salvo, five straight tracks of nothing but slow heat. This is when Foxx is at his best, when he puts away the gimmicks and guest features, grabs a piano and just sings. Freak’in Me is one of the most surefire baby-makers in recent memory, a scorching track that Foxx prowls across with confidence. But what really makes Freakin Me is the hook by Marsha Ambrosius, who continues her recent string of dope tracks with some devastatingly sexy contributions. Damn I like this song. On a similar tip are tracks like Slow, a minimally produced slow jam, and Overdose, a moving and minimal piano ballad. If these songs have a common weakness it’s their lyrics – unless you think lines like “your s**t is the s**t” are romantic – but no one expects Foxx to be Ne-Yo. Jamie’s just your run-of-the-mill movie star who also happens to make some damn good music, and if that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Dec 19, 2008
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