Jamie Foxx is sailing smoothly as a recording artist, but it wasn’t always that way for the actor-comedian-vocalist triple threat. Foxx paid a visit to the Ellen Show yesterday and briefly explained how, after many years of trying, he finally found success in the music world.
Foxx, it seems, had been trying to break through as an R&B singer ever since his days as a cast member on In Living Color. But the closest he ever came to making it was dashing after producer/composer legend Teddy Riley, pitching his demo cassette tape while dressed up in drag costume between taping takes. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best look for Foxx, and the actor would have to wait a few more years before hitting his singer stride. Opportunity came knocking, literally, during a gathering at Foxx’s house. “One day I had a house party and a dude walked in–he had a backpack on, and his jaw was a little swollen. Who was it?” The audience replies: Kanye West. Foxx was told by friends “He’s the next rapper, he’s the next producer,” and couldn’t pass up the chance to bring the young West into his own personal studio and perform. At that moment, Kanye’s talent made an immediate impression on Foxx, and the two set to work recording “Slow Jamz” on the spot. had him perform and saw his talent immediately. West said he had a song for him. That’s what became “Slow Jamz.” “Just sing it simple, hip-hop is different” Foxx said, remembering Kanye’s advice when it was time for him to sing the hook.
But it took another certain West collaboration to fully christen Foxx’s musician status. Mutual friends contacted him years later, promising Kanye had “a missile” ready in the studio. Foxx made tracks to the studio and arrived just in time to collaborate a funky work in progress that eventually became, yes, “Gold Digger.” Watch as Foxx tells the story himself below, and catch his recent interview with Hot 97 if you’re eager for even more career backstory from the funnyman.