Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: HBD
Genre(s): Rap, R&B, Alternative Rap
Just when listeners had fully abandoned all remnants of Little Brother, Charity Starts At Home drops. Since the North Carolina rap trio officially announced its breakup in January 2007, it seemed clear where each member was taking his talents: Phonte was nabbing Grammy nominations as one half of the R&B/Soul duo Foreign Exchange, Rapper Big Pooh manned his own solo rap career, and 9th Wonder used his production skills to amplify the sounds of artists like Ludacris and Erykah Badu while helming his Jamla Records. Optimism resurfaced when Phonte and 9th settled their differences, and suddenly we have Charity Starts At Home: Phonte’s official solo debut, which features a third of its production by 9th himself.
Phonte Coleman of the defunct North Carolina rap duo Little Brother wears many hats: singer/songwriter, rapper, and, occasionally, comedian. Over the course of his career, it’s been questionable which he wears best -- the adult contemporary/R&B outfit the Foreign Exchange pairs Netherlands producer Nicolay’s warmly acoustic, Moog-driven production with Phonte’s swooning singing vocals, which is quite a contrast from his aggressive, loosely percussive delivery as an MC over the hard-hitting boom-bap production of venerable hip-hop producer 9th Wonder. After three tremendous consecutive albums with the Foreign Exchange, his debut solo outing, Charity Starts at Home, is a well-balanced marriage of all of Phonte’s musical inclinations.
Phonte :: Charity Starts at HomeThe Foreign Exchange MusicAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonThe value of Little Brother's catalogue over the last decade is highly debated. Hip-Hop heads swing to one of two sides - underrated or overrated - and rarely seem to brook any dissenting opinion. What gets lost in the discussion at times is two crucial facts: the debate itself proves they made a worthwhile contribution to hip-hop (any talk is good talk) and their legacy in the music scene is far from over.
Praised for his efforts as a member of groups Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange, Phonte gets the solo shine that many have been waiting nearly a decade to hear on Charity Starts At Home. Before jumping into the album’s first verse, Phonte begins the offering’s opener talking, promising, “I do this all for hip-hop!” before pausing and dismissing that thought, saying, “I’m lying like shit. I do this shit for my goddamn mortgage, nigga.