The Firm

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Bios: The Firm, Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, Nature
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Nas (A.K.A. Nasty Nas, Nas Escobar & Nastradamus) (Born Nasir Jones, September 14, 1973 in Queensbridge, New York City, NY)
Foxy Brown (Born Inga Fung Marchand, September 6, 1979 in Brooklyn, NY)
AZ (Born Anthony Cruz, March 9, 1972 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY)
Nature (Born Jermaine Baxter, September 15, 1979 in Queensbridge, New York City, NY)

See Also: Nas & Cormega

The Firm - The Album
AZ - Final Call
AZ - A.W.O.L.
AZ - Undeniable
AZ - Doe Or Die: 15th Anniversary
Foxy Brown - Ill Na Na
Foxy Brown - Broken Silence
Nas - Illmatic
Nas - Illmatic Instrumentals
Nas - It Was Written
Nas - I Am...
Nas - I Am... A Cappellas
Nas - Nastradamus
Nas - Stillmatic
Nas - Stillmatic A Cappellas
Nas - Stillmatic Instrumentals
Nas - From Illmatic To Stillmatic: The Remixes
Nas - The Lost Tapes
Nas - God's Son
Nas - God's Son A Cappellas
Nas - God's Son Instrumentals
Nas - 10 Year Anniversary Illmatic Platinum Series
Nas - Street's Disciple
Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead
Nas & Ill Will Records Present Queensbridge The Album
Q.B. 2 Compton Starring Nas & The Game
Nature - Pain Killer

Foxy Brown - The Hits And Unreleased Vol. 1
Nas - Original Demo Tape
Nas - Remix, Unreleased & Demos
Nas - Nastalgic
Nas - Nasir Jones: Carry The Cross Mixtape
Nas - The Prophecy
Nas - The Lost Tapes Vol. 2
Nas - The Nigger Tape
Nas - By Any Means Necessary
Nas - The Lost Album Vol. 1: Last Real Nigga Alive
Nas - The Lost Album Vol. 2: Everything Is Real
Nas - The Lost Album Vol. 3: Soundtrack To The Streets

AZ - Sugar Hill (Single)
Foxy Brown - Star Cry b/w The Quan (Single)
Nas - On The Real/Star Wars (Single)
Nas - Nastradamus (Single)
Nas - The Prophecy E.P.
Nas - The Prophecy E.P. Volume 2 (Vinyl Promo)
Nas - Surviving The Times (Single)
Nas & Damian Marley - As We Enter (Single)

Also Featured On...

A-Villa - Carry On Tradition (AZ)
The Alchemist - The Chemistry Files (AZ)
Ali G Indahouse Da Soundtrack (Foxy Brown)
Allure (Nas & Nature)
Amerie - Playlist: The Very Best Of Amerie (Nas & Foxy Brown)

Belly (Nas & Nature)
Benzino - The Benzino Project (Foxy Brown)
Best Of Rap City (Nas & Foxy Brown)
Big Pun - Endangered Species (Nas & Nature)
Big Pun - The Legacy: The Best Of Big Pun (Nature)
Black Sheep - From The Black Pool Of Genius (AZ)
Blackstreet - No Diggity: The Very Best Of Blackstreet (Foxy Brown)
Blu Cantrell - So Blu (Foxy Brown)
Blue Streak (Foxy Brown)
Booth Blasters Rip-Up The Mic!! (Foxy Brown)

Capone-N-Noreaga - The Best Of Capone-N-Noreaga: Thugged Da Fuck Out (Nas & Nature)
Case (Foxy Brown)
Case - Touch Me, Tease Me (Single) (Foxy Brown)
Caught Up (AZ)
Common - Uncommon Classics (AZ & Nas)
Cormega - Legal Hustle (AZ)
Cormega - Who Am I? (AZ & Nature)
Cormega - Raw Forever (AZ & Nature)
Cradle 2 The Grave (Foxy Brown)

D.P.G. - The Last Of Tha Pound (Foxy Brown)
DJ Clue? - The Professional
DJ Clue? - The Professional 2
DJ Green Lantern - Invasion Part Three: Countdown To Armageddon (Nature)
DJ Kay Slay - Underground Part 1: Well Connected (Foxy Brown)
DJ Kayslay - The Streetsweeper Vol. 1 (Nas & Foxy Brown)
DJ Kayslay - More Than Just A DJ (AZ)
DJ 1 Mic - Death Row: This Is It (The Definitive Collection) (Nas & Nature)
DJ Skribble's Traffic Jams 2000 (AZ)
DMX - Mixtape (AZ)
Dr. Dre - Unreleased Production (Nas & Nature)
Dr. Dre - Pretox (Mixtape) (Nature & Nas)
Dru Hill - Hits (Foxy Brown)

E-Money Bags - I'm The Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit' (Nature & Nas)
Essential Underground Hip-Hop 2 (Nas, AZ & Nature)
Essential Underground Hip-Hop 3 (AZ)

F.T. (Fuc-That) - The Brooklyn Beast (Nature)
50 Cent - Guess Who's Back? (Nas & Nature)
50 Cent - That's What's Up (Nas & Nature)
50 Cent - Forever King (Foxy Brown)

Guru - Jazzmatazz The Mixtape: Back To The Future (Nature)

Hip-Hop Docktrine: The Official Boondocks Mixtape (AZ)
Hip-Hop Docktrine Two: The Official Boondock Mixtape Disc 2wo (AZ)
Dave Hollister - Things In The Game Done Changed (AZ)
How To A Player (Foxy Brown)

In Too Deep (Nas & Nature)

Jay-Z - Dead Presidents (Single) (Foxy Brown)
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt (Foxy Brown)
Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (Foxy Brown)
Jay-Z - Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (Foxy Brown)
Jon B - Pleasures U Like (AZ)
Justus League 2K8 (AZ)

R. Kelly - R. (Foxy Brown)
R. Kelly & Jay-Z - Unfinished Business (Foxy Brown)
Kid Capri - Soundtrack To The Streets (Foxy Brown)
Kool G. Rap - The Giancana Story (Advance) (Nas & AZ)
Kool G. Rap - The Giancana Story (Nas & AZ)

Life (Nature)
Light It Up (AZ)
LL Cool J - Mr. Smith (Foxy Brown)
LL Cool J - All World 2 (Foxy Brown)
Little Brother - ...And Justus For All (AZ)
Ludacris - Back For The First Time (Foxy Brown)

Mack 10 - The Recipe (Foxy Brown)
MTV Party To Go '98 (Foxy Brown)

NFL Jams (Foxy Brown & AZ)
Noreaga - N.O.R.E.
The Notorious B.I.G. - Duets: The Final Chapter (Nas & Foxy Brown)
The Nototious B.I.G. - Greatest Hits (Foxy Brown)
The Nutty Professor (Foxy Brown)
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (Foxy Brown)

112 - Pleasure & Pain (Foxy Brown)

Paid In Full/Dream Team (AZ)
Papoose - Thug Connection (Single) (AZ)
Playa - Cheers 2 U (Foxy Brown)
Puff Daddy & The Family - No Way Out (Foxy Brown)

Raekwon - The DaVinci Code: The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 2 (AZ)
Ride (Nas & Nature)
Rick Ross - Deeper Than Rap (Nas & Foxy Brown)
Rush Hour 2 (Foxy Brown)

Sam Sneed - Yes Indeed, Sam Sneed (Nas & Nature)
Soul Food The Series: The Best R&B Of 2000 (Foxy Brown)
The Source Presents Hip Hop Hits Volume 1
Sparkle (Nature)
Statik Selektah - Spell My Name Right (The Album) (AZ)
Styles P - The Ghost Sessions(AZ)
Survival Of The Illest: Live From 125 N.Y.C. (Foxy Brown)

Tony Touch - Mic Construction (AZ)
Total (Foxy Brown)

Luther Vandross - Dance With My Father (Foxy Brown)

Mario Winans - Hurt No More (Foxy Brown)
Wyclef Jean - Welcome To Haiti: Creole 101 (Foxy Brown)
Wu - Chronicles (AZ)
Wu-Tang Chamber Music (AZ)
Wu-Tang Clan - Legendary Weapons (AZ)

Xscape - Traces Of My Lipstick (Foxy Brown)

Young Noble & JT The Bigga Figga Present Street Warz: The Untold Story Chapter 1 (Nas & Nature)

Bio From AllMusic.Com
The East Coast gangsta rap supergroup the Firm never lived up to its excessive hype and instead became a brief footnote in the careers of its main participants. The foursome included four New York rappers Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature but was actually the pet project of its producers: Nas Escobar (as he referred to himself at the time), Steve "Commissioner" Stoute, Dr Dre, and the Trackmasters. On paper, the group seemed nothing short of spectacular: on the vocals Nas and Foxy Brown, two of New York's favorite rappers at the time; on the beats Dre and the Trackmasters, two of the industry's most accomplished producers of the time; and signing the checks Stoute, the man standing alongside Puff Daddy as New York's biggest career-booster. On paper this looked like an invincible team for sure; however, the overconfident, over-reaching attitudes of all involved ironically became the group's downfall.

An early form of the Firm appeared on "Affirmative Action," a standout song from Nas' second album, It Was Written. Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega joined Nas for the song each taking a verse and it became an album highlight as well as a much-talked-about song on the streets. Of course, Cormega got the boot in favor of Nature for reasons that vary depending on who you ask (reportedly because either Stoute or Nas or both preferred Nature). Up until this incident, Cormega and Nas had been comrades. Following the incident, however, Cormega took his beef to the streets, penning the inflammatory track "Fuck Nas and Nature" and letting it circulate through the mix-tape market. Things would never be the same between the two former comrades.

But the Cormega incident had little to do with why the Firm flopped. Rather, it became an instance of overconfidence and over-reaching. All involved with the project hyped it heavily, creating a huge buzz on the streets. Dre and the Trackmasters split the production duties, and Stoute brought in a number of guests to pad the album, most likely hoping to spin off successful careers for several of the newcomers. It didn't work that way, though. Instead, listeners rejected the over-hyped album, unhappy with the excessive guests and skits; they wanted to hear Nas and Foxy Brown, not a bunch of no-names (keep in mind that the outside packaging listed no guests besides the primary participants, though actually there are guests on nearly every song). It, of course, didn't help that none of the singles hit big and that the primary draws Nas and Foxy Brown seemed like guests themselves on their own album. The album quickly collected dust on record-store shelves, and all involved returned to their solo careers, happy to put the embarrassment behind them. The only person to really mention the fiasco years later was Cormega, who continued to resent being ousted from the group. - Jason Birchmeier

Foxy Brown's Bio From Wikipedia
Inga Fung Marchand, born September 6, 1979 (a 2006 police report cites her birth year as 1978), better known as Foxy Brown, is an American rapper known for her solo work as well and numerous collaborations with other artists, and her brief stint as part of hip-hop music group The Firm. Born in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York of mixed Afro-Trinidadian and Asian descent She has released three solo albums, Ill Na Na in 1996, followed by Chyna Doll in 1999, and Broken Silence in 2001. She performed also in the 1997 self-titled album by the Firm, the only album to be released by that group to date.

After 2002, she continued recording verses for herself and other artists but did not release any albums. In April 2003, she announced on the Wendy Williams radio program on radio station WBLS that she would leave Def Jam Recordings, thus leaving her album Ill Na Na 2 unreleased; it was initially to be released in May 2003. However, she returned to the label in January 2005 after Jay-Z signed her back to begin work on her new album Black Roses. In December 2005, she began suffering from hearing loss, which put her career on hiatus until the next summer, a few months after surgery.

In August 2007, she was signed to Koch Records.

AZ's Bio From AllMusic.Com
One of the numerous thoughtful, literate gangsta rappers to emerge from New York during the mid-'90s, AZ never garnered the attention of peers like Nas and Jay Z. Instead, he saw his debut album, Doe or Die, become a critical favorite in late 1995 before his career suddenly went downhill after such modest and short-lived success. Critics and b-boys alike celebrated AZ and his debut album for a literate approach to the gangsta lifestyle. Like his aforementioned peers Nas and Jay Z, AZ not only brought intelligence to his rhymes but also an impressive flow and delivery that further set him apart from the flood of New York MCs fighting for survival in the crowded rap game. Unfortunately, despite Doe or Die's quiet success, AZ stumbled in successive years, finally scoring a new major-label relationship with Motown in the early 2000s.

Born in Brooklyn as Anthony Cruz, AZ first came to the greater rap community's attention in a big way after his stellar performance on Nas' "Life's a Bitch" in 1994. Given AZ's similarity to Nas and the overwhelming response to Nas' Illmatic album, it was just a matter of time before AZ would score a record deal, a feat he accomplished in 1995. The resulting debut album, Doe or Die, shook the New York hip-hop scene as Nas' Illmatic and Mobb Deep's Infamous had done shortly before it. Like those albums, Doe or Die reveled in the street life hustling for cash, peddling drugs, violent encounters, mandatory boasting, struggling daily just to maintain but took a literate and thoughtful approach to the often exploitative gangsta motifs. Furthermore, like Nas, AZ had Pete Rock crafting the beats, which won the young rapper instant credibility among the hip-hop community.

When word hit the street that AZ was an official member of the supergroup known as the Firm, his status only rose higher. Anchored by Nas, Foxy Brown, Nature, and AZ on the mics, with Dr. Dre and the Trackmasters on the beats, it would seem as if the group could do no wrong. The group's 1997 album ended up being a surprise failure, though, buried under ridiculous expectations and too much hype. But AZ's bad fortune didn't stop there. He returned a year later with his sophomore album, Pieces of a Man, an album that came and went relatively unnoticed and uncelebrated. For the next few years, AZ became a forgotten name. No longer with a major-label contract, he managed to release the little-heard S.O.S.A. record in 2000. It didn't sell many copies or resurrect his career but rather re-affirmed the fact that he was indeed a talented rapper whether the public and the industry wanted to acknowledge it or not.

Within a year's time, AZ secured a new major-label relationship with Motown, a label that had never had much, if any, success with rap artists. Still, the Brooklyn rapper wouldn't let the label's reputation hold him back, as he illustrated on 9 Lives, unofficially billed as his comeback album. Though lacking big-name production and employing a skimpy roster of guest rappers, the album did showcase AZ's lyrical prowess and his endurance, anchored by the sample-laced lead single "Problems." Aziatic from 2002 received positive reviews overall and two years later by the double disc career overview Decade 1994-2004. - Jason Birchmeier

Nature's Bio From AllMusic.Com
Jermaine Baxter, known by fans as Nature, went to school with rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones. In fact, it was Nas who first took notice of Baxter's strong rhyming style, a style that seemed to come to the young hip-hop artist effortlessly.

Nature skipped the normal course of demo tapes and moved ahead to intros on recordings for other artists. The 1997 group the Firm was his next step to fame. Other members of this East Coast hardcore rap crew were AZ, Foxy Brown, and friend Nas. The foursome recorded an album, titled The Album, which quickly climbed to platinum and brought the guys plenty of attention.

In 2000, three long years after stepping away from the Firm crew, Nature at last finished a solo album, For All Seasons. It was recorded under the major Columbia Records label. Urban-life reality tracks like "We Ain't Friends," "Young Love," "Nature Shine," and "The Ultimate High" fill this 13-track first offering. The album carries explicit lyrics, but there is an edited version for younger fans. - Charlotte Dillon

Official Sites: Nas Independence Day, Nas' MySpace, Nas' YouTube, Nas' Fuckin' Twitter, Foxy Brown's MySpace, Foxy Brown's Fuckin' Twitter, AZ's MySpace & Nature's MySpace

The Firm

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