Apart from that outstanding turn on Kanye‘s Gold Digger, we’ve never really bought Jamie Foxx as a recording artist. While America is up-in-arms about his recent molestation of their national anthem, for us the problem lies more in the ill-fated vanity-project smack of an actor crossing over. Especially when your project is rather imaginatively titled Hollywood.
In a pleasant turn of events, this isn’t the Ne-Yo-level car crash we expected it to be. Foxx does have a good studio voice on him – Russell Crowe take note – but without anything distinct to say about his cushy lifestyle, the album quickly descends into the usual male R&B malark of wanting to sex a fine bitch etc.
It may sound like we’re exaggerating, but you only need to get as far as Like A Drum to start cringing. If you can make it all the way through this song without skipping ahead then we applaud you, otherwise we’d recommend a strong countenance for flowery phrases like “feels good when we’re smoking, fucking, kissing, licking, stroking, touching” or “I’m gonna beat it like a drum/ bom bom bom bom/ I’ve been waiting on you/ when you gonna cum cum cum cum.” It’s hard to write that without retching a little, never mind listening to six minutes of it.
Awkward sex jams aside, there are some decent moments in here that make us forget we’re listening to Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man. Tease is obviously a typical Pharrell production, which all of us can perfectly predict by now, but the real surprise is in tracks like On The Dot and particularly Baby’s In Love, which recruits Kid Ink for an immensely funky modern R&B jam. Make this a single, people, or at least draft in Foxx for an Empire cameo with Hakeem doing the rap.
It’s clear that Foxx shines when he cuts loose and allows both us and himself to forget who he is. It doesn’t happen often enough sadly – tracks like Socialite and Vegas Confessions keep the notion of stardom alive – and there are a couple of useless descents into vain balladry. There’s definitely a recording star in Foxx, but the fact that there are three interludes here called Dozen Roses highlights the problem – he just needs to leave the Hollywood clichés behind to properly fly.
Hollywood by Jamie Foxx can be ordered here.