Hit or Miss, Jamie Foxx’s ‘Hollywood’ Album Doesn’t Really Matter
The grass is always greener in Hollywood. Whenever stars gets successful, they want to achieve something new -- the actor just has to release an album so we can hear his amazing voice or the singer wants to do comedy. Let’s be honest, most of the time the move is an epic fail.
Tinseltown is littered with multi-hyphenates who can’t quite live up to the hype outside of their areas of expertise. When Jamie Foxx sang with Kanye West on “Slow Jamz” and “Gold Digger” in 2004, it seemed like the actor was just flexing his vocal chops as a hobby. It was a fun side project between friends and for Jamie, an extension of his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. But when both songs became hits and his sophomore album, Unpredictable, became a multi-platinum chart-topper, it was clear that singing was more than his side hustle.
A decade later, Jamie Foxx drops his fifth studio album, Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses, today (May 18). Despite the release of several singles before its arrival (“Ain’t My Fault” in 2014 and “You Changed Me,” “Baby’s in Love” and "Like a Drum" this year), Hollywood has yet to offer a breakthrough song. Couple this with a less-than-stellar performance of the national anthem at the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight earlier this month and the fact that R&B is a far different landscape today than in 2005, and the success of Hollywood seems like a long shot.
Will Jamie Foxx’s new album be a hit or has the actor’s musical well dried up? In reality, it doesn’t matter. Unlike other artists, the 47-year-old has proven himself as a superstar both musically and theatrically for over two decades. Whether Hollywood sells a million copies or goes double wood, the album merely adds to his legacy.
Listen to Jamie Foxx's "You Changed Me" Feat. Chris Brown
Jamie has shown us that he can sing -- on and off screen -- for years. He began playing piano when he was 5 years old and he’s often displayed his musical chops through his acting characters. Whether he was charming Fancy’s pants off with his crooning on The Jamie Foxx Show or taking on the challenging role of Ray Charles in Ray, he's always had undeniable musical prowess.
“I really wanted to just be a musician. I didn't want to be anything else, but I was funny and all that,” Jamie once admitted about his career aspirations. Famed music critic Robert Christgau gave the actor major props for his work in Ray by saying that, “Foxx does the impossible -- radiates something approaching the charisma of the artist he's portraying... that's the only time an actor has ever brought a pop icon fully to life on-screen.” His uncanny performance as one of the most beloved singers of our time -- sometimes it was hard to remember it was Jamie playing Ray Charles and not Ray himself -- led to his Academy Award win for Best Actor in a Leading Role as well as the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
His acceptance speech at the 2005 Academy Awards has become a part of pop culture history. Like him, it was funny and touching. He shouted out his daughter, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier and saved the last part for his grandmother. “My grandmother's name is Estelle Marie Talley… And she still talks to me now; only now she talks to me in my dreams," he said. "And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we got a lot to talk about. I love you.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that.
Watch Jamie Foxx's 2005 Academy Awards Acceptance Speech
It’s one thing to have critical success, but Jamie has plaques to justify his worth. His sophomore album, Unpredictable, has sold over two million copies worldwide -- the project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold nearly 600,000 copies in its first week -- while its singles “Unpredictable” and “Blame It” featuring T-Pain have both gone platinum.
“Slow Jamz” and “Gold Digger” were No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 as well. Jamie can make club records, tipsy frat boy records and odes to the ladies. 2008’s Intuition became a platinum-seller and 2010’s Best Night of My Life has gone nearly gold. Whether Hollywood moves units or doesn’t, Jamie is already a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist and that’s something most R&B singers can’t tout.
Musically, others have recognized him as a viable peer. Jamie has worked with everyone from 50 Cent and Drake to Justin Timberlake and Rascal Flatts. How many singers can lay claim to so many cross-genre duets? “Will.i.am and I performed at Wango Tango. That's when my daughter said that I had made it in music,” he joked during an interview.
On Hollywood, Jamie’s enlists contemporary collaborators like Chris Brown on “You Changed Me” and Kid Ink on “Baby’s In Love.” These artists, especially Brown, have the choice of going into the studio with anyone they want. Clearly, they see working with the Jamie Foxx as a good look. The rest of Hollywood reads like a who’s who of hip-hop. He has super producer Pharrell Williams on “Tease,” Wale assisting with “Like a Drum” and Fabolous' help “On the Dot.” Production is contributed by Pharrell as well Drake’s go-to beatmakers Boi-1da and Vinylz.
In 2005, Jamie shattered records when he became the fourth person to have an Academy Award for acting (Ray) and a No. 1 album (Unpredictable), thereby joining Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Barbra Streisand. He’s also the second male in history -- Al Pacino is the other -- to receive two acting Oscar nominations in the same year for two different movies (Collateral and Ray). Let that sink in for a moment.
He is in the same caliber as America’s greatest legends. His Hollywood LP is but another of many projects on his resume. From Annie and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to Django Unchained, Jamie always challenges himself and expands his reach. Next on the acting front, he’s slated to take on the role of a lifetime as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., directed by Oliver Stone and produced by Steven Spielberg.
“I get nervous about the music,” Jamie Foxx admitted in a radio interview recently about Hollywood. “I think we did a good job.” Don’t sweat it, Jamie. You’re already a living icon. Hollywood is just another risk, another notch on your lengthy Wikipedia page. By releasing a fifth studio album, you’re differentiating yourself from the pack of other actors-turned-singers or singers who moonlight as actors. If the album is a success, it’s another win. If not, you’ll be on to the next one without missing a step.
Listen to Jamie Foxx's "In Love By Now"
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