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The Fearless Mr. Foxx

Jamie Foxx is on a multitrack mission—and no creative terrain is out-of-bounds.
Ben Watts

“Rihanna will sing the hook, Slash will play the guitar, and Travis Barker will play the drums.”

That’s the vision, anyway. “Fingers crossed,” he says.

Jamie Foxx is on a roll, hurtling from one idea to the next while his words accelerate to keep pace with his thoughts. The song he’s just described—one of several projects Foxx is excited to talk about—is just a concept at this stage, but he knows what he wants, and he’s confident. “My creativity is flowing right now,” he says. The Oscar-winning actor, singer, and comedian is, at this very moment, occupying none of those particular roles; he is simply a creative force, free of constraints. Over the course of our conversation, Foxx, 45, has gone from sitting at my right to crouching at my left to standing in front of me. From talking to eating to acting to beatboxing. And now he’s singing. By any definition, this is an interview; but as much as I’d like to think I’m participating, I feel like I’m witnessing…something. I’m not quite sure what. But it’s electrifying.

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We’re sitting in a sparse but nicely decorated apartment nestled into the side of a hill in Malibu. It’s the kind of place where you’re not exactly sure who lives there, so you kind of just go with it. Going with it, it turns out, is also a theme when talking to Foxx, who, as I am learning fast, has a way of taking conversations to interesting places.

It’s become impossible, it seems, for Jamie Foxx to merely star in a movie these days. No. Now he must also create a trailer. And he must sing and produce the song for said trailer. To Foxx, it’s all connected. The idea for the track in question came to him on the set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, where he’s been cast as the villain Electro. “People were texting me, like, ‘Yo, where you at, Foxx?’ And I would text them dressed as Electro, ‘Listen, I can’t talk right now. I’m chasing spiders,’” he says. “So then, I would go back to my studio with my boy Brains and we built a song called ‘Chasing Spiders,’ sort of like a rock-’n’-roll thing.” I ask for Brains’ real name. Access Denied. “If I said his real name he would pass out,” Foxx jokes, but clearly he’s not shy about giving me details. In addition to Rihanna, Slash, and Barker, Foxx envisions the track being supported by a 60-piece orchestra. “Thirty of them are villains, 30 of them are superheroes,” he explains. “Then, when it really ramps up, when the orchestra comes in, that’s when you see the big fight. Imagine the orchestra playing and then, in slow motion, breaking their instruments and running from everything. Since I did the movie, I know what the shots are—so that’s how I know how to craft the music.”

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