is up to her old tricks on her third album, Broken Silence
. She is still the undisputed queen of materialism, evident on "Fallin'," where she drops names of countless designer brands, rapping about Range Rovers, Gucci, Prada, etc. She is still taking aim at legions of triflin' ex-friends, including other rappers, ex-boyfriends, etc., etc. Brown is as hood and street as ever but, on this album, she extends her musical wings and embraces other styles to fine effect, making this her most entertaining and musically adventurous album to date. Reggae and dancehall influences abound, most notably on the terrific single "Oh Yeah" and "Tables Will Turn." The most interesting song, however, is "Hood Scriptures," which, like Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'," incorporates Eastern influences, adding a whole new dimension to hip-hop possibilities. "The Letter" is a sparse, mini-masterpiece, where Brown apologizes to her mother (in what could be interpreted as a thinly veiled suicide note) for the hell she's put her through, accompanied by a tinkling piano and Ron Isley's angelic vocals. Brown gets as sensitive and introspective as is possible, while still remaining as explicit as ever, as she reminisces over her defunct relationship with rapper Kurupt on "Saddest Day." Yes, Foxy Brown
is street and she is the center of her world's rumor mill, but this album, ripe with tasteless materialism, explicit sexual references, and violent raps, can honestly be called a musical step forward, and is a compelling testament to the life of a girl from the hood.