NEW YORK — For just about a decade, Jay-Z and Foxy Brown have been known as one of rap's highest-profile Bonnie and Clyde pairings. But this year, the dynamic has changed just a little. Instead of being two friends signed to the same label, Foxy is now an artist on Jay's Roc-A-Fella label.
So how does President Carter handle working with Foxy now?
"Same way," he insisted recently. "One way. Whatever [my opinion] is, I voice it; if I don't like it or if I love it. The same way.
"I'm rough, I'm tough, but fair," he added with a chuckle.
Brown's Black Roses is almost done (see "Foxy Brown Planning Comeback With Help From Jay-Z, Shyne"), and its star says she's welcomed every bit of input from Jay.
"He's the cherry on the top," she said. "He'll come in at the end and say, 'This needs to be tweaked here. You need to say this like this.' Or 'You need more cadence.' "
"It's coming along just as I've imagined it," Jay said of the album. "We're going through it, we're having our clashes, it's all perfect. The music is coming out amazing, though."
So amazing that Hova has been inspired to rap on at least three songs with Fox. Even she's surprised by that.
"Jay wants to jump on every record," she smiled. "I'll come in the studio and I'll hear a verse [already recorded], like, 'Where did that come from?' But I love that. Jay is in a class by himself and doesn't easily get on people's records. For him to want to be such a part of my music means I'm doing a great job. There's definitely a 'Bonnie and Clyde' [part] four, five and six on my album.
"Nobody can touch the project without Jay's approval," she continued. "I told him the other day I'm still humbled in his presence. I'm honored to be around him because I learned from him something new every day. It takes a strong person to humble me. I've worked very hard. I believe in people that are genuinely for you and not just have hidden agendas. Jay is genuinely for Foxy. Our relationship supersedes music. We've been friends since I was a little girl."
Unlike the last regime that ran Def Jam, Foxy said, Jay-Z has encouraged her to pursue her heritage and explore her love of Caribbean music.
"The last album, Broken Silence, I did the reggae and hip-hop," she recalled. "My parents are Trinidadian, and that's my culture. I wanted to incorporate dancehall, reggae and soca into hip-hop. The powers that be at Def Jam weren't having it. I said, 'Screw y'all, I'm doing it anyway.' I did ['Oh Yeah']. [For this album] Jay said, 'You're the only one that can do that, let's stick with that.' "
Fox's first single is called "Come Fly With Me" and features dancehall legend Sizzla.
"I wanted to go to the left," Brown said. "Everybody expected a radio-friendly record, or a pop record, or a gutter record. ['Come Fly With Me'], it's rock, dancehall, hip-hop — you can't classify this record. Sizzla is one of my best friends, and he's the hottest artist in Jamaica right now. My brother did the beat. When I first heard the beat, I didn't understand it because there were so many things going on. And Sizzla just started 'Come flyyy with me.' I was like, 'That's it. Go in the studio, go do it.' I came with 'Nana got a new drop top. Come ride with me.' "
Black Roses is due August 23.