Foreign Exchange

I'm taking the oppurtunity to speak a little about an album that has been growing on me: Foreign Exchange.
It's been a little while since I purchased it, but as it is with most hip-hop classics, they grow on me slowly.
Usually, it isn't until after 10+ rotations before I get a feel for an album, especially one as well composed as this. I felt compelled to speak on it last night while driving to Dave and Busters with my son Chidi in the back.
As I changed lanes I glanced back and saw him bobbing his head as he always does when the beat is banging - which brings me to the first thing I like about this album: the production is stellar. It's essentially a concept album, with the production being done in the Netherlands by Dutch producer Nicolay. As the story goes (I first heard of it on a special on National Public Radio - of all places) Nicolay would put down the tracks, send them to MC Phonte (of Little Brother fame) and Phonte and his crew would lace the tracks with their lyrics, send it back to Nicolay, and the rest is history. . The beats reek of a man who has spent quite some time on a Triton perfecting the art of melody, percussion, baseline, rythm, and the secret ingredient that get's the head nodding every time. As far as I can tell, it's completely original - with little to no sampling. The other gem, of course, is Phonte's voice - it's intoxicating. I often come across mc's with good delivery with little content or vice versa, but rarely both (only a few come to mind: Nas, Cannibus, Tupac, OC, Pharoe Monche). It was mainly his voice that drew me to Little Brother (as well as 9th wonder's production) and it has the same effect with this album. The theme is varying but alot of the songs are uplifting with cameo appearances that don't detract from the overall high caliber work that this album is. I would definately suggest this as a listen for anyone looking for something unique to vibe to. A guaranteed head nodder - for sho!


[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia
3 responses
By co-incidence I was just listening to FE this morning.  Definitely a tight album all the way through.  I hope we hear more from Nicolay and Little Brother, together or separately.
Heard this at a friends BBQ and had a chat with the DJ, its been headbopping heaven since...

I've been waiting for something new from anyone of Little Brother ('The Listening is a classic as far as I'm concerned) and Nicolay (heard he's massive in the Netherlands) could easily be 9th Wonder without the samples. Ur kids obviously got taste...
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