12 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Best known for his work with Little Brother and the cross-continental collabo project The Foreign Exchange, North Carolina emcee Phonte is a superstar in the underground despite never breaking through to the mainstream rap universe. While he's built a deep resume over the past 10 years, Charity Starts at Home is his first solo album, and it's a winner. As is his usual M.O., the lyrics focus on real-life, everyman issues, rejecting played-out gangster clichés and highlife fantasies in favor of more relatable tales. Simple but strong drums, thick bass lines, and nicely chopped loops make up the bulk of the production, with four tracks provided by his old LB running buddy 9th Wonder. "To Be Yours" and "Gonna Be a Beautiful Night" showcase his impressive crooning skills, "The Good Fight" addresses the economy and the working stiff’s daily grind, and "Ball and Chain" is a dedication to his wife. Guest spots are limited and high-quality, with strong features coming from Elzi (on the single "Not Here Anymore") and Pharoahe Monch ("We Go Off"), plus Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. on "The Life of Kings." 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Best known for his work with Little Brother and the cross-continental collabo project The Foreign Exchange, North Carolina emcee Phonte is a superstar in the underground despite never breaking through to the mainstream rap universe. While he's built a deep resume over the past 10 years, Charity Starts at Home is his first solo album, and it's a winner. As is his usual M.O., the lyrics focus on real-life, everyman issues, rejecting played-out gangster clichés and highlife fantasies in favor of more relatable tales. Simple but strong drums, thick bass lines, and nicely chopped loops make up the bulk of the production, with four tracks provided by his old LB running buddy 9th Wonder. "To Be Yours" and "Gonna Be a Beautiful Night" showcase his impressive crooning skills, "The Good Fight" addresses the economy and the working stiff’s daily grind, and "Ball and Chain" is a dedication to his wife. Guest spots are limited and high-quality, with strong features coming from Elzi (on the single "Not Here Anymore") and Pharoahe Monch ("We Go Off"), plus Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. on "The Life of Kings." 

TITLE TIME

More By Phonte

You May Also Like