REVIEW: The Foreign Exchange – Authenticity


The Foreign ExchangeMaybe She’ll Dream of Me
[audio:|titles=The Foreign Exchange – Maybe She’ll Dream Of Me (Album Mix)]

The internet is real dope when you think about it. I actually have no idea what the world would look like without it. I can’t imagine a day going by and not checking my email, reading the sports pages of newspapers across the US, tweeting and finding some unreleased music to download.(Don’t act like I’m the only one) The internet is also responsible for one of the most innovative groups in music today, the Foreign Exchange.

If you’re not up on the Exchange, Phonte (from Little Brother) and Nicolay met on the Root’s website Okayplayer and began recording and sending music back and fourth before ever meeting. Something that would’ve been impossible 15+ years ago, in 2004 became a reality with the group’s first album “Connected” and the two doubled down for their sophomore album “Leave It All Behind” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009. So, how do follow up a Grammy nomination? Easy. Keep making great music. Which is exactly what the group does with their 3rd album “Authenticity”.

Authenticity plays like a love letter gone bad. The album starts off with “Last Fall” and after one listen I don’t think Phonte will be wifing anyone, anytime soon. “This will be the last time that I ever fall in love again, love is at worst an excuse and best it’s a truce, so what is the use, I’m never gonna love again.” “Authenticity” allows Phonte to vent his frustration that his girl wants what SHE wants and with lines like, “she’s all that I could dream, but she tears me apart” let’s you feel the source of his frustration. “Fight For Love” is the crossroad moment that anyone who’s ever been in a relationship must comes to grips with…is what we have worth fighting for? Like Nina said in Love Jones, “all we have is all these years, and it’s just not enough anymore.” And Phonte concurs, “I don’t wanna be a soldier anymore because the war never ends, and the war never wins.”

The lead single “Maybe She’ll Dream of Me” will have you wishing Phonte broke out his rhyme book more often on this project and “Laughing At Your Plans” is a beautiful guitar driven track featuring the beautiful vocals of Chantae Cann. The album ends with “This City Ain’t The Same Without You” featuring YahZarah which deals with the moment of clarity that we all must deal with, when the relationship is over. Even if we’re not ready for it to be over. During the entire set Nicolay provides Phonte the perfect platform for him to talk about the ups and downs of love which allows “Authenticity” to serve as another reminder of how well these two work together. So the next time your on Facebook or Googling something, don’t forget that the internet is also responsible for authentic music like this.