Chyna Doll is the second studio album by American rapper Foxy Brown. It was released on January 26, 1999 by Ill Na Na Entertainment,Violator Records and Def Jam Recordings. After the commercial success of her debut album, Ill Na Na (1996), Brown began working on her second record. This time, she insisted on being the executive producer to have a creative control over the album. She collaborated with a number of producers, such as Kanye West, D-Dot, Irv Gotti, Lil Rob, Swizz Beatz and Tyrone Fyffe, among others.
Upon its release, Chyna Doll received mixed reviews from music critics. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, making it the first solo female rap album to debut at number one on the chart (landing a spot in the Guinness World Records of 1999). The album was a commercial success. Selling 173,000 copies in its opening week, it was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Chyna Doll is the follow-up to Foxy Brown’s 1996 platinum album Ill Na Na and was recorded in 1998. The album features guest appearances by DMX, Mýa, Total, Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Eightball & MJG, Juvenile, Too Short, Pretty Boy (Gavin Marchand, also known as Young Gavin and Nino Brown), Mia X, Tha Dogg Pound, Gangsta Boo, and Noreaga. It also features a special appearance by Pam Grier, the actress who played the original Foxy Brown in the 1974 blaxploitation film. About this album, Brown said, “I wanted to captivate everyone. I wanted to get all the crowds. I wanted to get the Down South crowd, West Coast crowds, East Coast crowds, all the dopest MCs from each part of the world — and we just did our thing. It was dope, it was real hot. I’m very proud with this album.”
Recording for her second album began in the summer of 1998. In September 1998, it was reported that Foxy Brown would remake Janet Jackson’s classic “What Have You Done for Me Lately” for the upcoming album, as well as an update to N.W.A.’s “Real Niggaz Don’t Die”, calling it “Bitches with Attitude” featuring Southern female rappers Mia X and Gangsta Boo.
During the recording process of the album, alternative rock singer Fiona Apple agreed to make a guest appearance on the album after an invitation from Brown, but due to scheduling differences, the session could not be arranged in enough time to make the final cut. Foxy Brown had also asked Madonna to collaborate on the album, but due to unknown circumstances, nothing ever became of it.
Originally, the album was going to be called Femme Fatale and was originally going to be released on November 17, 1998, but Brown decided to delay the release of the album to give her enough time to make sure everything was the way she wanted it.
Upon initial release, Chyna Doll received mixed to positive reviews. AllMusic’s journalist Jose F. Promis rating the album 2.5 stars. He cites, “…for the most part, this album is full of unappealing, pornographic raps, lame beats, and pathetic gangster posturing. The sophomore slump is evident here…”.Amazon journalist Oliver Wang states, “Chyna Doll just sounds like any number of New York-based rap albums, especially with its commercial formula of shuffling high hats, catchy hooks, and recycled funk loops. In the end, Brown’s self-exploitive (sexually and racially) cover art is likely to offer more provocative statements than the album itself.”
The album was released on January 26, 1999 and debuted on the Billboard 200 charts at No. 1, making it the second time Foxy Brown conquered the chart’s top position. On March 24, 1999, Chyna Doll was certified platinum. To date, it has sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. and around 3 million worldwide, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Chyna Doll continued Foxy Brown’s success as an international superstar and reigning as Hip Hop’s most successful woman at the time. The album knocked Britney Spears ‘Baby One More Time’ out of the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200. It also led the charts in Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The success of Chyna Doll brought more accolades to Foxy Brown’s name by making her the Female Rapper with the most No. 1 Albums on Billboard 200 (Currently tied to Nicki Minaj), First Solo Female Rap Album to debut at No. 1 on Billboard 200, and First Female Rapper with consecutive Platinum albums.
Three singles were released to promote the album. “Hot Spot” was the album’s lead single. It peaked at number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The second single was “I Can’t” featuring Total. The single failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
The third and final single was “J.O.B.” featuring R&B singer, Mya. The song was given a vinyl single release and also failed to chart. An alternate version featuring British girl group Honeyz was also released, but only in France.
In March 1999, it was announced that Foxy Brown would tour with R. Kelly on the “Get Up on a Room” tour featuring Busta Rhymes, Nas, Deborah Cox, and Kelly Price. After cancelling several dates due to slow ticket sales, a fatal stabbing in Miami, and Rhymes pulling out of the tour, Brown left the tour and pursued her own North American tour that began in August 1999 and stopped at 22 cities in America.