By this time next year, Tiffany Foxx wants to be headlining international shows off the buzz of a studio album, and she’s inching closer to that goal. The St. Louis native has been releasing notable tracks since 2007, but when she signed a deal with Lil’ Kim’s International Rock Star Records in 2012, things really began to pick up steam.
Her latest mixtape, King Foxx: Rule By Decree, includes features from artists like Pusha T, Jim Jones and Young Thug, and finds Foxx making her case for being a truly talented lyricist and showman. If all goes according to her plan, her debut will arrive early next year, and then it’s on to the next. She’s learned a few important things from working with industry powerhouses like Deb Antney and Lil’ Kim, and she already knows that the other girls don't want to place nice.
EBONY: In 2007, you released the single “Shake That Sh*t” featuring Snoop Dogg. That was a big feature before you even had a full-length project out.
Tiffany Foxx: It was crazy, because I was still trying to find myself as an artist, so it was difficult trying to figure how to make it a perfect collaboration. I was just amazed to be with a legend like Snoop, [and he told me] “I thought you were cute and just going off your looks, but you’re a really good lyricist.” It was fun, it was life changing, and to this day we’re really close.
EBONY: What exactly did you do to catch the attention of an artist like Snoop?
TF: I always did poetry, and [rap music is] pretty much hip-hop melody with poems. We just didn’t have that opportunity to really pursue [it] until Nelly opened the door. Then I was like, wait a minute—we could really make a living off being a rap artist, so I decided to pursue it.
I first did a song called “Can’t Find My Panties.” I guess that’s why Snoop was like, “I know she’s gonna be sexy,” but that was a really personal experience and I just vented on the track. I found these panties at my boyfriend’s apartment and I [wondered] why girls be leaving their panties over these guys’ houses. So I did a song about why they probably do that, [Snoop] heard it and was like, “oh my God, I wanna meet her, just for her having that kind of personality and touching on something like that.”
Tiffany Foxx w/Lil’ Kim, “Twisted”
Tiffany Foxx w/Lil’ Kim, “Twisted”
EBONY: Since you were able to get such a solid start as a solo artist, how’d you end up in the girl group June 5, under Deb Antney’s Mizay Entertainment?
TF: After the whole thing with Snoop, I went through a depression. I was just so close when I was with Snoop and then I didn’t know what to do. I was venting to some of my girls, and they felt the same way, because we’d been in the business for second. So they were like, “You know what? Let’s just do a group.” We were all from St. Louis, so it went from there. We had that conversation on June 4, and the next day was officially the day we came together.
EBONY: Deb Antney is a powerful woman in media. What’d you learn from working with her that’s been helpful in your career?
TF: Having thick skin, definitely. Having thick skin, empowering other women and being about your business. I definitely learned that from dealing with her.
EBONY: It’s safe to assume that things eventually fell apart with June 5?
TF: Yes, after so many let downs and after running into so many doors that closed. For a while, [people] just wanted me by myself, and that would wear and tear on the group. They never felt a kind of way about it though. It was always me saying, “No, you have to take me and all of them.” Then it got to a point where [they said], “Girl, they want you and we’re going to support you.” Who finds girlfriends like? And to this day we all eat together. They’re here with me now.
EBONY: And your Yellow Tape mixtape arrived shortly after that?
TF: Yeah. Being solo I could do and say whatever I wanted because I wasn’t signed to nobody. So Yellow Tape was really about liberation. I could be ratchet, I could any records I wanted to. I didn’t know what was going to happen with Yellow Tape, but I went in there, vented, and really expressed my vulnerable side. Lil’ Kim heard it. We were playing it at someone’s house, she came in and said, “I love everything that you stand for and talk about. You’re very talented.” And the rest is pretty much history.
EBONY: What was your reaction to receiving praise from a legendary MC like Lil’ Kim?
TF: You know what? When she said it, I was blushing but I didn’t think she was serious. I’d been in this business and you hear so many things about what people say they’re going to do, but never do it. But before I knew it, we were shooting the song called “Jay Z,” and then we were shooting “Twisted.” I kept having these wow moments—like, oh my god, I’m with Kim.
EBONY: You and Kim appeared in the 2013 Bet Awards cyphers, which is a pretty notable moment. Would you agree?
TF: I had to get mentally prepared for it because it’s so much pressure to be invited to something like that, but I was definitely honored be a part of it. It was definitely one of the most legendary moments in my career [to date]. During the cypher, I had to take a moment. Kim was talking to me and she goes, “Tiffany, did you just zone out?” I’m like, “Yeah, ’cause I’m really trying to understand how I’m here working with you.”
EBONY: After Yellow Tape, you released your Goal Diggers mixtape, and your most recent release is King Foxx: Rule By Decree. Those titles are pretty loaded.
TF: Yeah, on Goal Diggers I was doing covers and taking my fans on the journey of what I used to listen to coming up and what really inspired me like Kim, Jay Z and Eminem. I redid “Renegade” and got such an amazing response to that.
With King Foxx, I want this to be my last mixtape for a while and I really want to be respected and known as a lyricist. And in order to do that, you have to compete with the boys. Period. In order to do that, I’ma have to step up the ante. I can’t call myself a Queen, I’ma call myself King, because that’s the highest supreme being. I don’t want to be compared to any other girl and what they’ve got going on.
EBONY: How much does sex appeal factor into your career, since you’re aiming to earn respect for lyricism?
TF: What’s so crazy is—thank you Jesus—that it’s natural for me. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m kind of easy on the eyes, I have my own swag, I love fashion, I’m not in a relationship, I don’t have kids, I can rap and I have a very bold personality, so I can compete with the guys. That all really does matter when you’re trying to be in this genre, because if they identify you as being too domestic or too family-oriented (even though I really am), it messes up the image of hip-hop. It’s organic for me, because I do like to dress up. I am shapely, everything about me is real and I can rap. God put all those components there to make it happen for me.
I love Queen Latifah, for example, and what she stands for. She one of the ones who can hold it down next to guys.
EBONY: It sounds like you’re really making a case to hang with the boys on your King Foxx mixtape.
TF: It’s something to ride too. It’s ratchet, it’s trap, it’s lyrical, it’s passionate, it’s dominating, it’s aggressive, it’s fun, it’s serious. It’s a whole bipolar moment and it’s a beautiful because I’m changing my flow up so much on every song that you’re not going to be able to compare me to nobody but me.