A funny thing happened to Jamie Foxx on the way to starting a music career. Acting on a girlfriend’s dare to take the stage during a comedy club’s open-mic night, Foxx parlayed his humorous derring-do into a successful TV run (“In Living Color,” “The Jamie Foxx Show”). Trading the small screen, he locked into his acting stride with several key movies. These opened the door to his Academy Award-winning turn in “Ray.”
But this week, he is back to square one, at least musically speaking, with his J Records debut, “Unpredictable.” Foxx began recording “Unpredictable” nearly three years ago between juggling roles in “Stealth,” the recently released “Jarhead” and the just-wrapped “Miami Vice.” During the recording process, he worked to strike a happy medium between his old-school R&B influences (including Prince and Zapp) and contemporary hip-hop faves (such as Young Jeezy and 50 Cent), without letting the “Ray” afterglow overwhelm the proceedings.
“It’s something I’ve been toying with for a long time,” Foxx says. “How do you capture the club crowd with R&B while still keeping it hip-hop, young and with a bounce to it? That’s the way we wrote a lot of the songs.”
Foxx hooked up with such contemporary R&B/hip-hop songwriter/producers as the aforementioned Sean Garrett, Mike City, Harold Lily, Tank, Polow Da Don, Warryn Campbell, Timbaland, 112’s Daron Jones and Mr. ColliPark. These collaborations, Foxx notes, mark the major difference between this and his 1994 effort, “Peep This.”
“I’ve got some real writers and producers this time and a real record label that has the money. I didn’t have anything back then. I waited 11 years because I didn’t want to be out there looking goofy. Like, ‘Man, what is he doing?’ ”