It was around summer of 2004, I was visiting a friend from college. I was about to start grad school at UCLA and he was going to law school at UCLA, and we were talking about being roommates. Before I left, he asked,
“Yo, you heard that Foreign Exchange? It’s the new album from Phonte of Little Brother and this cat Nicolay from the Netherlands.”
He played me a few tracks and burned it for me to play on the way home. As soon as I put that CD in my player and heard that amazing intro, I was zoned out. The music was everything I’ve always wanted to hear. It was melodic, but still funky, and hard hitting. It had different changes. It was that next level I was looking for. And I always knew Phonte could sing from little things he did on The Listening album, but now he was doing full songs as a singer. I wore that CD out that summer.
When I heard Leave it All Behind, I was a bit confused. I wasn’t sure how to feel. There wasn’t nearly as much rhyming on this. But after a second listen, I figured maybe Hip Hop wasn’t challenging them to enough musically. I wore that album out too, and sing along with it from beginning to end.
Well now I finally got the chance to find out. After chatting with the Dir. of Operations, Aimee Flint downstairs, I got a chance to chill with them in their hotel room and just have a straight up conversation with them. Asking them the questions I’ve always wanted to ask. Their influences, how they create, and their thoughts on Hip Hop.