Retrospective: The Career Of Jamie Foxx

By @TrueGodImmortal

The man born Eric Bishop from Texas has made quite the name for himself over the years. Of course, I'm talking about Jamie Foxx. With no limit to his talents, the man has excelled in music, television, and film. He has earned platinum plaques, Oscar awards, and contributed a lot to the industry. Today, we look back at his career and each avenue that he's been involved in.

*Stand Up Comedy
-We'd have to start with the basis of his career and that's comedy. While Jamie is a great singer and a good actor, we'd be remiss to neglect to mention his start in comedy, specifically stand up comedy. In 1989, Jamie would venture into comedy clubs that hosted open mic and at the request of a girlfriend he had at the time, he gave it a shot. He would see some success, as that earned him a role on In Living Color later. Interestingly enough, while stand up comedy is his initial start, it doesn't show as much compared to his other ventures. While his specials Straight From The Foxxhole and I Might Need Security featured some hilarious moments and are enjoyable watches, the truth is, this might be the only venture that he didn't truly excel in... at least compared to other legendary comedians. Still, this is his basis and starting point and it is noteworthy to mention for sure.

-His run in television is pretty noteworthy as well and features some big shows, most notably his role on In Living Color and of course his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. He had small reoccurring roles in shows like Roc and a small cameo role in other 90s sitcoms like Hangin' With Mr. Cooper and Moesha, but many of us might not remember that. Unfortunately, our biggest memory of him on In Living Color comes in the form of him playing Wanda, an over exaggerated stereotypical "hoodrat" character, but it did provide laughs and seemingly elevate him slightly. His role on Roc allowed us to see him in a traditional sitcom role, and would be the catalyst more than likely for him getting his own show. However, his biggest success on television?

The Jamie Foxx Show was really one of the better black sitcoms of our time. The laughs were non stop, the characters Jamie played were hilarious, and the supporting cast was also great. The whole dynamic between Jamie and Fancy, Jamie and Braxton, and the whole Hotel staff made for riveting programming. It's tough to say where the sitcom ranks in the history of black television programs, but what they created was very memorable. Jamie would utilize the television platform to catapult himself even higher in the industry and it's all because of his television show. Without the Jamie Foxx Show, I truly doubt we would have ever seen him become an Oscar winner or ascend to that next level. While stand up comedy and In Living Color was the real introduction, we learned more about him as a leading actor due to his sitcom and television show. This might be the most important part of his career. If not the most important, it has to be top 3.

One of the more underrated aspects of Jamie's career has to be his work in music. A very talented singer and artist, Jamie came into the game with that ace hidden in some way. We were aware he could sing, but not enough to take it seriously. In 1994, he released his first album titled Peep This, and even at that point, it was hard to take him seriously to be fair. Peep This wasn't a bad release by any stretch of the imagination, but it's criminally forgotten when you look at his music career. Foxx would see a resurgence musically when he would contribute a hook to the mega hit from Kanye West and Twista titled "Slow Jamz". The single version of the track only shows Foxx on the hook, but he contributes a bridge and some solid adlibs on the album version of the song on College Dropout for Kanye. The song would start a huge wave for Foxx and instantly catapult him back into the music scene.

He took that wave and turned into gold literally with another guest appearance on Kanye's "Gold Digger", which was no. 1 on the Billboard for multiple weeks. The track itself drew inspiration from Jamie's role as Ray Charles and that likely helped elevate the track even higher. Where Jamie ended up winning big time there is that it built anticipation for him to finally put out an album himself after 11 years. Sure, Jamie was seen as a comedian, but after his most recent movie roles during that period, he was able to taken more seriously as an artist. This would lead to his underrated but very successful album Unpredictable, which is seen in many circles as one of the better albums of the 2000s in the R&B genre. Jamie would use the success of the double platinum Unpredictable to stake his claim in music and soon, he would take another shot at success with his third official album in 2008.

That album, Intuition, would see even more hits than Unpredictable, though the sales of the album weren't as high (consider the change in the industry). Intuition is still a huge win for Jamie in music, as it was certified platinum and featured hits like "She Got Her Own", "Digital Girl", and what I believe is the biggest hit of his career, the T-Pain assisted "Blame It". We all were singing loudly to the sounds of "blame it on the alc.... on the alc... the alcohol...", whether in the car or the club, it didn't matter. That particular song was everywhere and can possibly be considered a classic single. It's ended up in commercials, ads, films, everywhere. When we look back at the career of Jamie in music, this is his biggest moment from a single perspective and just visibility. If the Intuition album came out in the same time and industry that Unpredictable did, we might have been looking at a triple platinum album or better just based off the success in a declining time.

His last two albums, the 2010 release Best Night of My Life and the 2015 release Hollywood: A Story Of A Dozen Roses didn't do as well commercially, though Best Night Of My Life had a major hit in the Drake assisted "Fall For Your Type". Musically, Jamie has a solid catalog, and one has to think he's going to be back at work on another album in the near future.

-As successful as Jamie has been in his film career, it wasn't always this way. Starting out with a role in the film Toys, Jamie would struggle with roles through the 90s, unless you enjoyed his roles in Booty Call and The Player's Club, which I personally did (many didn't). I found Jamie to be hilarious in both of those roles, and I think he finally hit his stride film wise with his epic portrayal of Willie Beamen in Any Given Sunday in 1999. That role was perfect for Jamie as it allowed him to show more depth as an actor and display a bit of arrogance and showmanship within performance. There are some lesser than enjoyable roles from Jamie like his awkward performance in Held Up with Nia Long (I really don't understand the point of this movie anyways), and the strange turn in Bait, which I personally enjoyed, but it seemed like Jamie was trying to gain his footing in the film industry. Movies like Held Up and Bait were attempts to see if he could handle starring roles (Bait flopped pretty badly), but it would be the role he played in Ali that truly showed what he was capable of. With his solid supporting role in Ali, Jamie opened up eyes to him as a more serious actor and that's when the accolades started to roll in.

After a decent showing in the comedy Breakin' All The Rules (his hair is hilarious in this particular film), Jamie would have the year of a lifetime in 2004 with his roles in Collateral and Ray. His role in Collateral is super underrated, even though it garnered him a ton of nominations. That movie in general, where Jamie plays Max, a cab driver taken hostage so to speak by Tom Cruise, is underrated, as the performances from both Cruise and Foxx are incredible. Now, we all know about the award winning masterful performance from Jamie as Ray Charles in the film Ray. I won't go on and on about this film or the role itself, but I will say that this is the best role we've ever seen Jamie in and a true sign of his talent. For many people, reaching the highest height and apex of your career seems so distant but it would be that period between 2004-2006 where Jamie certainly hit his peak. Between his music ventures and his film ventures, the awards won for Ray, the nominations for both Ray and Collateral, Jamie was well into his prime. I'd have to remark however that in the years following these great moments, Jamie took a bit of a fall. His movies weren't really doing well in terms of success and actual quality following Ray, as it can be hard to ever live up to what you did previously. From Jarhead to Miami Vice to Law Abiding Citizen to White House Down to The Kingdom (which wasn't bad), which some garnered a decent box office intake, they just weren't good movies or performances by any stretch.

Though Django Unchained was a successful (I hate this film), his turn in the hit Dreamgirls was good, and his role in the sleeper comedy Horrible Bosses was fun, there's still films like Due Date and Valentine's Day and his cringeworthy yet hilarious role in The Amazing Spiderman 2. He would see success with the black version of Annie and seems poised to come back with a possible big hit in Sleepless, debuting in theaters early 2017. Will Jamie get back to form and get a huge role again to reboot the film excellence? Or be content where he is now? Only time will tell.

Jamie Foxx can be considered a legend in many ways. One of the few black actors to receive an Oscar, a pretty successful television and movie career, with some stand up comedy specials as well in his catalog. He's multifaceted and extremely talented and his career has seen some ups and downs, and a lot of middle of the road moments, but through it all, Jamie Foxx has always remained relevant and viable, even in his lowest moments and times creatively.



  1. Yeah first off Jamie DOES excel in comedy he wouldn't be my TOP FAVORITE COMEDIAN if he didn't!And Bait,Held Up,Jarhead,Miami Vice weren't bad movies as you claim.I mean it wasn't no Any Given Sunday,Collateral or Ali type movies.Yet they were STILL good movies!I only have Jarhead because of Jamie same for Miami Vice.Which I am a younger one compared to you more "seasoned" folks remembering the show.Booty call and The Player's Club are my joints too.Once again only owning them because of Jamie!Everyone starts somewhere or has to right?Toys for example which I also saw only one time since Jamie was only in there a quick minute.Is what that was about.Thank you!


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