Any true hip-hop head knows Little Brother as Phonte, Big Pooh and of course legendary producer 9th Wonder. The collective brought back a classic boom-bap, two emcees and a producer sound back to the scene not seen since the golden era of the 90’s. After the group dropped their classic The Listening, Phonte and Dutch producer Nicolay dropped a gem on the heads of hip-hop fans everywhere. The two created the now alternative hip-hop classic Connected. The two met on the infamous forums of OkayPlayer.com. Nicolay would instant message, email and mail Phonte the beats and he would later lay verses over it. The result is one of the most soulful, heartfelt and best produced albums I have personally ever heard. I stumbled upon the album one day while not paying attention in Music Appreciation class and was floored by what I heard. While the sound was considerably different from what I was used to from the Little Brother releases, it was just as compelling none the less.
The Foreign Exchange have since released two more incredible albums, Leave it All Behind and their newest album Authenticity. Phonte shocked LB and +FE fans when he announced that the next two albums would be him singing instead of rhyming over Nicolay’s beautifully crafted soundpieces. How was the album received? Leave it All Behind earned them a Grammy nomination. Phonte and Nicolay will be blessing Richmond with their presence on May 22nd at Alley Katz (Brought to you by SHHO of course). Any fan of hip-hop and neo-soul music would be doing themselves a disservice by missing this show.
I’m not even gonna sit here and try to be Mr. Cool, I am extremely excited for this show. When Arnold and Deji asked me to work on the flyer, I didn’t even hesitate to answer yes. To me, as corny as it sounds, it’s an honor. +FE is one my all time favorite groups. They’re the perfect combination of my favorite genres of music: hip-hop, soul, jazz, R&B, etc. The first time I heard Connected I was floored by what I heard. It still gets heavy rotation on a day to day basis. When I heard the next two albums I had the same reaction. I want to thank Arnold, Deji and the rest of SHHO for not only allowing me to showcase my work throughout the course of the year but also for putting on a great show for the people of RVA. If you all are not familiar with +FE, please get educated, because you are missing out on beautiful music. I’ll see ya’ll on the 22nd.