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SoulTracks reviews 'No News Is Good News'

by +FE on March 23, 2018 at 6:20 PM · Comments
In 2011, when singer/rapper/songwriter Phonte of The Foreign Exchange (+FE) fame released the critically-acclaimed, Top 10 Rap/Hip Hop Album, Charity Starts at Home,it was an impactful reminder that Phonte was more than just the occasionally comical, often reflective crooner of +FE; much more. As a rapper, Phonte had been the lynchpin of North Carolina's globally respected four album, six mixtapes run of the now defunct Little Brother trio, whose "Lovin' It" single from the 9th Wonder produced The Minstrel Show is a bonafide cult classic. Audience members who came to know Phonte at the onset of The Foreign Exchange's 2004 Connected or over the last 14 years of near annual releases (whether outfit, duo, solo, live or remix) through Phonte and Nicolay's Foreign Exchange Music label might have thought Phonte's occasional bars throughout the years were the lighthearted play of a singer, not an extension of a strong Southern hip hop legacy several projects and nearly two decades deep.

It's been seven years since the commercial and critical success of CSAH and a whole new, younger audience has come along to once again only know the artist as the main singer of +FE. So, once again Phonte is here to remind audiences that his flow as a respected rapper is legit and not just for play play. But, after all these years, can No News Is Good News match the classic that is CSAH?

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in: Upcoming Shows

Nicolay/The Hot At Nights at Vinyl @ Center Stage, Atlanta GA | May 3, 2018

by +FE on March 10, 2018 at 10:33 PM · Comments
Nicolay (from Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange) once again combines forces with jazz trio The Hot At Nights - Chris Boerner, Matt Douglas, and Nick Baglio - for another musical exploration since their 2012 tour of Shibuya Session EP.

Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Vinyl (Center Stage), 1374 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA, 30309

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Nicolay/The Hot At Nights at Snug Harbor, Charlotte NC | May 4, 2018

by +FE on March 10, 2018 at 11:57 AM · Comments
Nicolay (from Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange) once again combines forces with jazz trio The Hot At Nights - Chris Boerner, Matt Douglas, and Nick Baglio - for another musical exploration since their 2012 tour of Shibuya Session EP.

Friday, May 4, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon Street, Charlotte, NC 28205

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Phonte Gives Us Real Rap With 'No News Is Good News' via @SoulBounce

by +FE on March 10, 2018 at 11:36 AM · Comments
If you only listen to Top 40 rap, then we'd forgive you if you thought that genre was only obsessed with jewelry, money, women and getting high. If you manage to look beyond what's being fed to us on the radio and television, though, you'll find hip-hop that's dealing with issues that affect us all, not just those balling out of control. Phonte, who splits his time as a rapper and crooning frontman of The Foreign Exchange, offers us some of that grown man rap with his sophomore solo set No News Is Good News. No News Is Good News finds Tigallo tackling some issues that affect him and the black community as a whole. "Expensive Genes" might be one of the first hip-hop songs that addresses the need for black men to care of their health, with the rapper calling out the fact that "young n****s be dying of old n***a s**t" over a smooth beat that's occasionally interrupted by the sounds of a doctor doing a physical. That immediately segues into Phonte discussing his family issues, addressing the death of his father, the declining health of his mother and the plight of being a black man raising the next generation in America.

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in: Upcoming Shows

Nicolay/The Hot At Nights at The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh NC | May 5, 2018

by +FE on March 10, 2018 at 10:21 AM · Comments
Nicolay (from Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange) once again combines forces with jazz trio The Hot At Nights - Chris Boerner, Matt Douglas, and Nick Baglio - for another musical exploration since their 2012 tour of Shibuya Session EP.

Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 8:00 PM
The Pour House Music Hall, 224 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

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AllMusic reviews 'No News Is Good News'

by +FE on March 10, 2018 at 10:11 AM · Comments
Once Charity Starts at Home was finished in 2011, Phonte carried on with the fourth and fifth Foreign Exchange LPs, tours, and a slew of featured appearances. In early 2016, shortly after VH1 aired The Breaks, a movie for which Phonte wrote rhymes and portrayed vainglorious king in a cipher Imam Ali, +FE Music announced the imminence of three Phonte-related albums: SkyBreak, Tigallerro, and second solo album No News Is Good News. The first two arrived as scheduled. Awaited project three materialized in March 2018, after Phonte had contributed to the series version of The Breaks, started co-piloting the Questlove Supreme podcast, and added to his discography of commissioned studio work. Foremost, he was dealing with life and death. In one week alone, his father and grandfather died. "It was a heavy year," he understates on No News Is Good News, a full-length with a duration short enough to provoke objections from listeners who anticipated a rappin' Phon-Tay album for half a decade. While this set transpires in just over 30 minutes, it is remarkably lean and unsparingly mean. Not even Phonte's parents are granted reprieves: "My momma walkin' slower these days, she got a stent/Still on them Newports, where's your fuckin' common sense?" Earlier in that lurching track, Phonte flashes back to his father's death, outlining a lethal cycle with "Hit the repast and ate the same shit that killed him." Diet, prescription and recreational drugs, overwork, and other health issues -- as they affect black men in particular -- weigh heavily on his mind in the heart of the album. Earlier on, Phonte's strictly stiff-arming, deflecting all obstacles over churning funk in "To the Rescue," then taking out young impostors on the knocking "So Help Me God." Beginning with track seven, where Phonte temporarily switches to yearning singer mode and leaves room for a typically commanding Freddie Gibbs verse, the productions and lyrical content reflect the brighter aspects of Phonte's life as a newlywed and the realization that "I can finally be myself." (Nothing here could be parenthetically titled "Ball and Chain, Pt. 2.") For all the highs and lows related throughout, cooked up with a production crew that includes Zo!, Nottz, Tall Black Guy, and DJ Harrison, the levels of cohesion and concision are uncommonly elevated. Not one note or syllable is wasted.

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in: Releases

Nicolay/The Hot At Nights - Now The Coast Is Clear

by +FE on March 5, 2018 at 8:51 AM · Comments


Almost every musician wants to make a record no one expects from them, and yet few working bands bottle this wanderlust in a way that both carries who they have been while staying true to their destination. Nicolay (from Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange) once again combines forces with jazz trio The Hot At Nights - Chris Boerner, Matt Douglas, and Nick Baglio - for another musical exploration since their 2012 tour of Shibuya Session EP. "Now The Coast Is Clear" captures all of the lessons of a band that has spent years expanding in experience, all while maintaining voracious appetites for new sounds, deeper style palates, and denser stories. You can hear influences from both sides of the aisle informing this track: the subtle jam heave of their Three Kids album (itself an amalgam of genre bends), flashes of all three of Nicolay's City Lights sessions, the vast headspace of years of road life...it all simmers in this song. In a time when it's easy to sink into the negativity of political malaise and nearly global despair, this single leans hard into contemplative hope, and the album that follows will surely stand as a testimony of necessary change to come. (Scott Woods)
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in: Releases

Phonte - No News Is Good News

by +FE on March 1, 2018 at 5:58 PM · Comments
Phonte - No News Is Good News
The sophomore solo album. Out now.
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