The Firm Drop Debut Album: Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Oct. 21, in hip-hop history...
1997: The Firm (Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, Nature) decide to join up and drop their album, and bars ensue.
We are now in an era where collaborations between popular and artistically credible rappers make collab projects regularly. Drake and Future's What A Time To Be Alive, along with Dave East and Styles P's Beloved, are just a few of many. In the 1990s, this kind of thing was still unheard of, so when Nas, Nature, Foxy Brown and AZ teamed up to form The Firm, it was a huge deal. Factor in Dr. Dre and the Trackmasters on the boards and the anticipation goes through the roof. The Firm's album, formally titled The Album, was definitely sought after upon it's release.
The crew formed after after AZ, Nas, Cormega and Foxy Brown did the song "Affirmative Action" off of Nas' 1996 album It Was Written. Cormega was swapped for Nature after the former's creative differences, and the crew kept rolling after that. At the time, Foxy was tearing down features left and right, Nas was already an upper-echelon lyricist with Illmatic already out and AZ was hot, thanks to his work with Nas and his solo album Doe or Die. To set the scene, The Firm even existing was huge.
Their album, The Album, would be their only full project. The album had two singles, but the first was the most successful. "Firm Biz," which also featured En Vogue's Dawn Robinson, made it to No. 12 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and was pretty much played everywhere in the group's hometown. The song that stood the test of time was "Phone Tap" where the rappers got to excel at one of their strongest skills; storytelling.
The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The Firm split up and went through a few internal beefs, but they all seem to be on good terms nowadays. For such a big moment in hip-hop, The Firm was short-lived.
See Photos of Rappers’ Fashion Choices in 1997