17 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

"While the proliferation of digital music has changed the world in myriad ways, one of the most groundbreaking is the ability for musicians to collaborate with other artists halfway around the world. Such is the case with the Foreign Exchange — Dutch producer Nicolay and North Carolina MC/singer Phonté (of Little Brother) — who first met on a messageboard, dug each other's music, and put together Connected entirely via the Internet, sending tracks back and forth until it was just right, and in the process creating a stellar album loved by both the fans and the critics. Nic's production is outstanding, lushly arranged layers of smooth melodies, dreamy keys, and low-key beats, while the lyricism, from Phonté and assorted affiliates (Big Pooh, Median, Jahzarah, Joe Scudda, etc) is decidedly authentic, with many real-life stories of success and failure, new loves found and lost. This is one that you can truly play from start to finish, though key tracks include ""Nic's Groove,"" ""Be Alright,"" and ""Happiness.""

EDITORS’ NOTES

"While the proliferation of digital music has changed the world in myriad ways, one of the most groundbreaking is the ability for musicians to collaborate with other artists halfway around the world. Such is the case with the Foreign Exchange — Dutch producer Nicolay and North Carolina MC/singer Phonté (of Little Brother) — who first met on a messageboard, dug each other's music, and put together Connected entirely via the Internet, sending tracks back and forth until it was just right, and in the process creating a stellar album loved by both the fans and the critics. Nic's production is outstanding, lushly arranged layers of smooth melodies, dreamy keys, and low-key beats, while the lyricism, from Phonté and assorted affiliates (Big Pooh, Median, Jahzarah, Joe Scudda, etc) is decidedly authentic, with many real-life stories of success and failure, new loves found and lost. This is one that you can truly play from start to finish, though key tracks include ""Nic's Groove,"" ""Be Alright,"" and ""Happiness.""

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

58 Ratings

Grown Hip-Hop

signpatch,

I'm not going to harp on and on about things you may have heard before. All I will say is that if you need a reason to buy this album, just go ahead and do it already. If you're one of those people who believe that real hip-hop is dead...meet the Lazarus Chamber.

Buy it, download it, copy it, borrow it, steal it, (just kdding), whatever. But know that you need this album in your life. From top to bottom, it's soulful, real, dope, beautiful, lyrical, smooth, alladat.

Lacking nothing.

Most excellent album

J-Eezy,

Great!

About The Foreign Exchange

Representative of how the Internet can aid in creating music, the Foreign Exchange started when Little Brother rapper Phonte heard a beat on Okayplayer.com by Dutch producer Nicolay and asked if he could lay some vocals over it. Nicolay agreed, and the song "Light It Up" appeared shortly thereafter as the B-side to Little Brother's 2002 single "Whatever You Say." Relying mainly on instant messaging and email, the duo continued to work together, with Nicolay sending beats to Phonte, who would add vocals and send them back until they had enough tracks together to form an album. Not once during the entire process of making their debut, Connected, which came out in 2004, did the members of the Foreign Exchange speak over the phone or in person.

Due in part to an increasing production load, Nicolay moved to the States, and Leave It All Behind, the second FE album -- more R&B-oriented than the debut -- was recorded. Released in 2008 and featuring a handful of stunning videos, its lead single, "Daykeeper," was nominated for a 2010 Grammy in the category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance (and lost to India.Arie's "Pearls"). After assisting two of their associates, YahZarah (The Ballad of Purple St. James) and Zo! (SunStorm), with albums, the Foreign Exchange released Authenticity. All three sets were issued in 2010 through The Foreign Exchange Music. A DVD/CD set, Dear Friends: An Evening with the Foreign Exchange (2011) and a two-disc set of remixes and new songs titled The Reworks (2013) preceded the group's fourth studio album, Love in Flying Colors (also 2013). After a world tour and the release of Nicolay's City Lights, Vol. 3: Soweto -- an album inspired by the group's world tour dates in South Africa -- the group issued Tales from the Land of Milk and Honey (2015), a diverse set co-produced by Zo! that incorporated throwback house, Latin jazz, and even a playful nod to funk legends Slave. ~ Marisa Brown & Andy Kellman

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