SoulTracks reviews 'Glaciers'
The music man behind much of the signature tones that have come to define The Foreign Exchange (+FE) sound continues his alchemist trick of making instrumental electronic music feel organic for laypeople who swear they don’t care for electronic music. Following a tradition initially established in jazz by artists like Miles Davis and in soul by Stevie Wonder’s experimentations in Songs in the Key of Life (peaking in the woefully underrated In A Square Circle), manipulating electronic music to distill the innate robotic coldness of its confines to cultivate something emotional and resonating is a hard row. Most lean into the coldness, creating music that stretches from the industrial and dystopian to the nihilistic and metallic.

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.

You are here: HOME » INTERVIEWS

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.

Copyright (c) 2008-2018 Foreign Exchange Music, LLC. All rights reserved.