Wednesday night @ 10:54, I got an email from my little cousin Precious J letting me know that The Foreign Exchange just released their new album “Leave It All Behind”.
Before I could finish reading his message, I ran down to my office & downloaded it with the quickness. After hearing the first cut, I emailed most of my friends (Foreign Exchange fans) to let them know about the release because I just knew that “Leave It All Behind” was going to be a must have! The 1st album “Connected” was the best example of a hip-hop album since… shit, I don’t know. But anyone who was/is a true hip-hop fan has this album. With that said, I was looking forward to rocking “Leave It All Behind”.
So last night, I listened to the album twice & loved it. The vocals were great, the beats were on point & the flow was perfect.
This morning, I got in the car plugged my iPod in & played the album while I drove to work. During this third listening, I was more aware of what I was listening to. After the first 5 cuts, I was like wait a damn minute, this is all R&B, where the fuck is Phontae & why is he not rapping but I hear his voice. The I fast-forwarded through a few more songs & I definitely realized that there was no rap on the album at all.
After reality set in, I grew disappointed, like really disappointed with the album. I purchased “Leave It All Behind” based on the credit of “Connected”, which came out 4 years ago & is still on heavy rotation in my music library.
Although “Leave It All Behind” is rapless, it’s full of hot melodies produced by Nicolay. The rest is average R&B at best. This is not to slight the abilities of Yazarah aKa Purple St. James & Darien Brockington because they are on their A game in this release as they were on “Connected”. What brings the R&B portion down on “Leave It All Behind” is Phonte & his singing. Actually, he is not that bad, I’m was just shocked & was surprised when I figured out that he was the other voice on male vocals.
Perhaps the title “Leave It All Behind” suggests that we as fans need to leave behind what we thought we liked & try something new.
I cannot totally say, do not get this album but if you are looking for the dopeness of “Connected”, you will not find it here.
The bottom line is that my expectations were set way to damn high!
If you are not up on The Foreign Exchange, I mos Def recommend that you pick up “Connected”!!! Anyway here is a bit of history of the duo:
“The members of Foreign Exchange have never held a telephone conversation: never met face to face. That’s right. Breaking the current barriers set up between music and geography, The Foreign Exchange conceptualized, conceived and completed Connected by means of instant messenger and the world wide web.
Consisting of Phonte of Little Brother fame (vocals) and Nicolay (drums, bass, keys, guitars and samples), The Foreign Exchange came together via the online hip-hop community where people of like-minded music and artistry dwell: Okayplayer.com. Although Nicolay is based in the Netherlands and Phonte in Raleigh, NC they continued to trade music and discussed plans for a full length project.
Once the idea of a full length album became clear, The Foreign Exchange came to life.
After more than a year and a half of “file swapping,” Connected was completed….”
In other news, the new Little Brother CD “…And Justus for All” is super fucking hot!