Timeless... music composed and performed by two long time collaborators that have blessed us both together and independently throughout the years, Phonte and Eric Roberson are two of the industry's best kept secrets.
Phonte is a North Carolina native who will forever be a Hip Hop legend for having the underground on smash with Little Brother in the early to mid 2000s, has in more recent time dedicated his talent to a more eclectic sound of R&B/Electronica/HipHop in which case he's been critically acclaimed and Grammy nominated for his work with Foreign Exchange. Yet while the FE catalogue has expanded over time with respectable releases that include Leave It All Behind, Authenticity, Love in Flying Colors, and Tales of the Land of Milk and Honey, this reviewer respectfully believes that their best work is still Connected, their debut album that arguably created an entire new genre of music all the while not hitting one false note. Yet while their best album may be up to debate, what is indisputable is that Phonte's solo album Charity Starts At Home is a masterpiece, and served as a firm reminder that Tay can annihilate the competition whenever he feels compelled to.
buy connected on iTunes now!
On the other side of this dynamic duo is Eric Roberson, another Grammy nominated artist who hails from Rahway, New Jersey and has forever been in the cut of the often overlooked genres of contemporary R&B and neo-soul, yet all the same he's probably your favorite singer's favorite singer, you know the type... Nonetheless he has classic records all up and down his resume with Dealing, Borrow You, Couldn't Hear Me, Been In Love, Iluvu2much, Male Ego, At The Same Time, Break It Down, Just A Dream, and so many many many more. ERRO is a throwback to the golden era of music when singers actually made songs about love, and as a result he remains a hidden treasure amidst the monotonous trash that is championed around him.
Together Phonte and Eric Roberson had already collaborated on numerous records throughout the years (their cover of Eric Tagg's Marzipan being my personal favorite) and their chemistry has been apparent from the very beginning, which is no surprise considering they both represent the same qualities - good music over everything else - and that formula has proven to be a success once again with their new album Tigallerro, which below is critiqued song by song which will be the standard method used at LegacyArtsMedia (this is our first review, and it's an honor), while meanwhile in this case the records put all together assemble nothing less than the perfect album.
It's So Easy - "I wake up every single morning with the world's best view, of your eyes, and your thighs, your lips and chest too..." Right out the gate it's easy to enjoy new music from these two artists, as the quality behind their work makes them so easy to love. On this record they share both melodies and raps on a smoothed-out-feel-good record that makes a car ride in the summer make you feel like you're on top of the world.
Thru The Night - "It seemed perfect now you out here feeling distressed, she wasn't perfect you just didn't know her shit yet" Phonte is rapping on this album! let us all rejoice... While he's as talented as they come using any style he chooses (introspective raps ((LB's 'All For You')), braggadocios raps ((LB's Flash and Flare')), smooth melodies ((FE's ' Fight For Love)) and even satirical radio records (remember his Ron Isley/R Kelly record on The Minstrel Show... claaaaasssssiiiiiccc), nonetheless if there's one style that reigns supreme it's when he's spitting the life of the every day man, in which case he's one of the very best at relationship raps, made very clear in this particular record that is sure to fuck up your rewind button more than once.
My Kinda Lady - "So I wrote you a jam here, It's damn near disrespectful for me to spit on this" Phonte's back to singing again, and he's killing it... as is ERRO as they trade melodies back and forth, followed by another 16 (maybe 10) light bars from Tay that hit harder than most MCs raps on their best day.
Hold Tight -"let's go to your mama house you know she baking, extra butter in that bowl when she pound caking" I might be misinterpreting this record but it feels completely legitimate up and down in regards to the framework (a concept, a nice hook, a smooth instrumental), and then the content feels like satire yet then again it's so clever that it's hard to tell. Or perhaps the ad-libs are the clear give-away and this is in fact a dig at the bevy of MCs who can certainly style on a record but can barely rap, in which case this is just a further reminder that these artists can do THAT without effort. Either way the raps are on point albeit humorous, and shoutout ERRO who can rap better on an instrumental than any of us knew.
Grow This Love - "So many times I was falling in love, or maybe more like falling innnnn" Now this sounds like a classic Eric Roberson record, the instrumental, the concept, the hook, everything, and accompanied with Tay's signature FE sound this is a complete record from start to finish, however it's best part maybe the instrumental bridge, followed by the instrumentation in the outro that is perfect to zone out to in any weather.
Never The Same Smile - "Never thought that I'd, find someone to share my life, but you held out your hand out to me...." Unlike the previous record that sounds like it could easily be found in ERRO's solo catalogue, this particular record screams Foreign Exchange up and down, which makes sense considered it was produced by Foreign Exchange and Zo!, and is the only record on the project where Roberson doesn't have a writing credit - although he does add his vocals to the mix and once again it works perfectly. The feature from Shana Tucker is excellent as well and is reminiscent of Phonte's previous celebrated works with female vocalists, most notably Sincere ft Yazharah & Laughing at Your Plans ft Chantae Cann.
Waiting 4 Ya - "It's love, even though he says it's not his intent, to be a burden, but baby girl you been alerted, you been observant, say hallelujah, you been converted, just take your time to give him space and reassure him, I'm out..." A perfect blend of both their talents put together, this is just another smoothed out gem to add to the list, complete with another infectious hook and maybe Tay's best verse on the entire album.
Lie To Me - "In the back of the club sitting next to blondes, and all of her skin tone next to bronze... now she's standing right in front me, hot damn, she bad as she wanna be" The only record where Tay sets the tone with the raps, and then lets his (and ERRO's) melodies take it home from there. Needless to say it works here like it always does. Not the best record on the project but a solid addition to it nonetheless.
3:45 - "In the morning...there's nothing I won't do....in the morning... specially when it comes to you..." This is a masterpiece... this is incredible... needs the video treatment with an old school Cadillac, the LA skyline, beautiful grown and sophisticated women and all that... this song is timeless and if you don't run this back 1,000 times you have no soul in your veins.... but for the rest of us we got one right here.... press play, enjoy, and tell a friend
Something- "There's always something, something that turns you around to change your life" A great way to bring this adventure to a close, another smooth record that completes the best contemporary R&B/Hip Hop album since maybe Frank Ocean's Channel Orange... ain't that something..
buy the album on iTunes now!