The Foreign Exchange family's third 2010 release, following YahZarah's The Ballad of Purple St. James and Zo!'s SunStorm, Authenticity is the third proper album from the flagship act helmed by Nicolay and Phonte. It's somehow more lush and downcast than 2008's Leave It All Behind, frequently dipping into an alluring type of despondent heartache that is improbably soothing.
In 2010, it's not terribly bizarre to learn that a musical act has created its latest track or album by sending tracks through e-mail or an instant-messaging service. But when singer-rapper Phonte Coleman and producer Nicolay joined forces via the infamous OkayPlayer boards in 2004, this method of creating music was basically unheard of. But because of the distance between them – Phonte resides in North Carolina and Nicolay in the Netherlands – these two basically had no other option.
The narratives surrounding the Foreign Exchange's albums often overshadowed the conversation around the music itself. On their debut, Connected, it was that rapper Phonte and producer Nicolay constructed their tracks through back-and-forth Internet correspondence, having never met by the time their album was released. With their follow-up, Leave It All Behind, it was that the group had committed a total about-face, Phonte having traded rapping for singing.