Indie-soul collective Foreign Exchange plays the Cat's Cradle (via The News & Observer)
It seems like only yesterday Phonte Coleman was just a North Carolina rapper/singer, one-third of the up-and-coming hip-hop trio Little Brother. Back then, Coleman was also exchanging music files with an Internet help desk employee and aspiring producer in the Netherlands (Matthijs “Nicolay” Rook), hoping the two could make music together.

Phonte and Nicolay remain focused on The Foreign Exchange (via Creative Loafing)
With their fifth studio album, Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey, The Foreign Exchange has perfected its sophisticated take on R&B, incorporating not only a range of sticky sweet melodies, but also a smattering of nuanced romantic themes like domesticity and compromise. But whatever you do, don't call it ''grown man music.''

The Foreign Exchange Evoke Chaucer on 'Tales from the Land of Milk and Honey' (via Exclaim!)
''More than anything else, the biggest crime as an artist is to be boring.'' Phonte Coleman, the primary songwriter, vocalist and animated gif half of the Foreign Exchange, has probably never been at the receiving end of such an accusation. Over the course five albums with partner Nicolay, Phonte has equated love to an excuse, displayed affection through lunchtime chicken wing delivery, and made a gorgeously passive-aggressive ode to the better mate. His songwriting is unparalleled in its combined frankness, humour and relevance in our everyday dalliances.

The Foreign Exchange introduces its own Song of Solomon: 'Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey' (via Washington Post)
Phonte Coleman, the rapping, singing half of the hip-hop/R&B duo the Foreign Exchange, has a complicated relationship with religion. When he was growing up, he detested the mandatory trips to his grandmother’s baptist church, so he joined the choir just to make the ordeal more palatable. At least from the choir stand there was an added element of entertainment. Stationed behind the preacher, young Phonte could gaze upon the flock and see who was fanning themselves, who was trying not to fall asleep and who was struggling to stay on beat.

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Phonte Talks Little Brother, 9th Wonder and The Foreign Exchange (via Soul Sessions blog)

by +FE on March 19, 2010 at 5:28 PM · Comments
In January Little Brother announced that the upcoming LP, Leftback, will be their final album. I was too salty when I found out! Anyone that knows me knows that I have always been the biggest Little Brother supporter. The North Carolina duo had me at The Listening with songs like "Speed", "Whatever You Say" and "The Get-Up". To this day Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh (and even 9th Wonder who exited) remain one of my favorite groups in Hip Hop... ever.

I was able to catch up with Phonte and talk about Little Brother's retirement, get the truth about why 9th Wonder bounced, and find out what's next for the Grammy nominated Foreign Exchange.

Krysten Hughes: So, Little Brother recently announced that Leftback will be the group's final studio album. Why did you guys decide to break up?

Phonte: Well, it wasn't a break up. Me and Pooh aren't beefin', we just wanted to go out on our terms. We have taken the Little Brother brand creatively as far as we could take it. We just really wanted to end it on our own terms and end it with class.

KH: Why did 9th Wonder leave the group?

Phonte: He left for personal reasons. His sound was something that we had kind of grown out of, but more so personal reasons. We were no longer friends. Our friendship had deteriorated. We were young dudes, like brothers when we first started. Once that relationship deteriorates, the music is no longer the same so we decided to part ways.

KH: What's next for Phonte as a solo artist?

Phonte: Just working on a new Foreign Exchange record with Nicolay. We are working on a new album. We also just finished up an album with Yahzarah, out May 4 on the Foreign Exchange music label. I will probably put a solo album out next year.

KH: Are you going to be focusing more on the singing or emceeing.

Phonte: There's gonna be a little bit of both, but for a solo album I might focus more on the rap side. I also will have some songwriting and singing too, to give people the full experience of what I like to do musically.

KH: Any last words?

Phonte: Thank you to all the people that support me, Foreign Exchange and the Foreign Exchange family, all of us. I sincerely appreciate it.

Little Brother's Leftback LP is slated for release April 20, 2010.

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