The Album (The Firm album)

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The Album
Studio album by The Firm
Released October 21, 1997
Recorded November 1996–August 1997
Genre Hip hop
Length 53:04
Label Aftermath/Interscope/MCA
INTD-90136
Producer Dr. Dre, Trackmasters
Nas chronology
It Was Written
(1996)
The Album
(1997)
I Am...
(1999)
Foxy Brown chronology
Ill Na Na
(1996)
The Album
(1997)
Chyna Doll
(1999)
AZ chronology
Doe or Die
(1995)
The Album
(1997)
Pieces of a Man
(1998)
Nature chronology
The Album
(1997)
For All Seasons
(2000)
Singles from The Album
  1. "Firm Biz"
    Released: 1997
  2. "Phone Tap"
    Released: 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [2]
Los Angeles Daily News 1/4 stars [3]
RapReviews (5.0/10) [4]
Rhapsody (mixed) [5]
Robert Christgau B− [6]
The Source 3.5/5 stars [7]
Vibe (mixed) [8]

The Album, also known as The Firm: The Album, is the first and only studio album by American hip hop supergroup The Firm, released October 21, 1997 on the Interscope-subsidiary label Aftermath Entertainment.

Background[edit]

Prior to the formation of The Firm, future members and affiliates of the group were at transitional stages of their careers. Following the acclaim of his landmark debut album Illmatic (1994), Queensbridge-based emcee Nas decided to concentrate his efforts in a mainstream direction.[9] Despite its significant impact on hip hop at the time, Illmatic did not experience the larger sales of most major releases of the day, due in part to Nas' shy personality and withdrawal from promoting the record.[9] Nas began to make appearances on other artists' work, including Kool G Rap's "4,5,6" and "Verbal Intercourse" on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... (1995), which made him the first non Wu-Tang member to appear on one of their recordings. Nas began to dub himself as Nas Escobar on these guest appearances.[9] Meanwhile, his excessive spending habits had left him with little money, as Nas had to ask for a loan to purchase clothes to wear to the 1995 Source Awards.[9] The success of fellow East Coast act The Notorious B.I.G. at the awards show sent a message to Nas to change his commercial approach, resulting in his hiring of Steve "The Commissioner" Stoute as manager.[9] While Illmatic attained gold status, Stoute convinced Nas to aim his efforts in a more commercial direction for his second album, after which Nas enlisted production team the Trackmasters, who were known for their mainstream success at the time.[9]

Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based female rapper Foxy Brown was brought to the attention of the Trackmasters, who were working on LL Cool J's Mr. Smith (1995).[10] After impressing the production team with an on-stage freestyle rap, she earned a guest appearance on Mr. Smith, contributing a verse to the remix of "I Shot Ya".[10] Throughout 1995 and 1996, Brown appeared on several platinum and gold singles, including Jay-Z's "Ain't No Nigga" and the remix of Toni Braxton's "You're Makin' Me High". Her appearances sparked a recording company bidding war in early 1996, leading to her signing to Def Jam Recordings.[10] The success of "I Shot Ya" prompted her inclusion,[11] along with rappers AZ and Cormega, in collaborating with Nas on the song "Affirmative Action" for his second studio album, It Was Written (1996).[12] The collaboration came in the wake of the critical success of AZ's debut album Doe or Die (1995). He initially garnered attention with his appearance on Nas' "Life's a Bitch" (1993).[13] Cormega, whose rapping career had been put on hold due to his incarceration during the early 1990s, was referenced by Nas on "One Love" (1994), and was released from jail in 1995.[14]

Working with the Trackmasters as producers, Brown released her solo debut Ill Na Na (1996), which became a chart success and sold over two million copies.[10]

Album title[edit]

According to critic Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews, the title of the album, as well as the group's name, was inspired by John Grisham's 1991 legal thriller-novel The Firm and the 1993 film adaption of the same name.[15] While it was issued under the title The Album, writers and music critics have referred to the album with such titles as The Firm,[16] Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present the Firm: The Album,[17] and The Firm — The Album,[18] or The Firm: The Album.[19]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Producer(s) Length
1 "Intro" Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 0:47
2 "Firm Fiasco" 8 (AZ, Foxy Brown, Nas) Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 4:28
3 "Phone Tap (Intro)" 0:35
4 "Phone Tap"1 (AZ, Nas, Nature) (featuring Dr. Dre) Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 3:46
5 "Executive Decision" 13 (AZ, Nas, Nature) Curt Gowdy, Trackmasters 3:43
6 "Firm Family" 9 (Nature) (featuring Dr. Dre) Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 4:00
7 "Firm All Stars" 7 (Foxy Brown) (featuring Pretty Boy) Trackmasters 3:20
8 "Fuck Somebody Else (Intro)" 1:19
9 "Fuck Somebody Else" ² (Foxy Brown) Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 4:23
10 "Hardcore"³ (Foxy Brown, Nas) Trackmasters 4:10
11 "Untouchable"10 (featuring Wizard) Dr. Dre, Mel-Man 1:13
12 "Five Minutes to Flush (Intro)"4 0:45
13 "Five Minutes to Flush"5 (Nature) Dr. Dre, Chris "The Glove" Taylor 4:43
14 "Desperados (Intro)" 0:29
15 "Desparados"12 (Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, Nature) (featuring Canibus) Curt Gowdy, Trackmasters 4:30
16 "Firm Biz"6 (AZ, Foxy Brown, Nas) (featuring Dawn Robinson) L.E.S. 3:24
17 "I'm Leaving"11 (Nature) (featuring Noreaga) Trackmasters 3:31
18 "Throw Your Guns" (AZ) (featuring Half-A-Mil) Trackmasters 3:58
Sample credits

Singles[edit]

Single information
"Firm Biz"
  • Released: 1997
"Phone Tap" (promo only)
  • Released: 1997
  • B-side: "Five Minutes to Flush"

Chart history[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts (1997)[20] Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart 8
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs by
LeAnn Rimes
Billboard 200 number one album
November 8–14, 1997
Succeeded by
Harlem World by Mase

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r317870
  2. ^ Matt Diehl (1997-11-14). "Music Review: 'The Firm' Review | Music Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  3. ^ "SOUND CHECK. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  4. ^ "The Firm :: The Album :: Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records". Rapreviews.com. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "CG: Nas Escobar, Foxy Brown, Az and Nature". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Music: The Album (CD) by The Firm (Artist)". Tower.com. 2005-05-07. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  8. ^ Vibe - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Cowie, Del F. Nas: Battle Ready. Exclaim!. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  10. ^ a b c d Ill-nana.net: Foxy Brown - Biography. The Foxy Brown Palace. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  11. ^ Bush, John. Foxy Brown: Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  12. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. The Firm: Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  13. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. AZ: Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  14. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. Cormgea: Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  15. ^ Juon, Steve. The Firm: "Back to the Lab" series. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  16. ^ Diehl, Matt. Music Review: The Firm. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  17. ^ Lang (2006), p. 117.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert. CG: Nas Escobar, Foxy Brown, Az and Nature. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  19. ^ ego trip (1999), p. 26.
  20. ^ allmusic ((( The Album > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums ))). Allmusic. Accessed May 24, 2008.

References[edit]

  • Ashyia N. Henderson (2001). Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 30. Gale Group. ISBN 0-7876-4621-0. 
  • John Borgmeyer, Holly Lang (2006). Dr. Dre: A Biography. Edition: illustrated. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33826-4. 
  • Jake Brown (2006). Dr. Dre in the Studio. Edition: illustrated. Amber Books Publishing. ISBN 0-9767735-5-4. 
  • Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Gabe Alvarez, Brent Rollins (1999). Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists: Book of Rap Lists. Edition: illustrated. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-24298-0. 
  • Mickey Hess (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Edition: illustrated. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33904-X. 
  • Todd Boyd (2004). The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop. NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-9896-9. 

External links[edit]