Well, here it is. Ever since I heard it from his mouth that he was committed to do this album, I have wanted to hear it. Been waiting for awhile...Patiently might I add. Long read. Hope you enjoy it.
Ever have some of your friends or folks who know you are into music ask you to 'turn them on to a your favorite artist before?
The request is the ultimate 'gift and a curse' if you are a true fan of the person's craft because then in essence, you have to 'choose' a starting point that could 'make or break' that person's opinion of said artist. Especially if that artist is 'overlooked' already in some circles/the person is coming from a that 'MAKE ME A DAMM BELIEVER DAMMIT perspective. Now even though I am not one to try to change folk's mind, I do find that it is a daunting task if you take your music 'seriously'. While I promise folks NOTHING I do like to be 'right', I mean who doesn't. If I recommend an artist, I wouldn't mind if they liked my suggestion if you get what I am saying. I am a bit of a music snob but not nearly as much as some of my folks. Still and all, I would like to spread good music to people when they ask......
Which brings me to this album. Charity Starts At Home to me is a PERFECT 'starting' point for anyone who, clearly has been living under a rock for the last 10 years or are too young to know any better, wants to know why I enjoy the musical talents of one Phonte Coleman. Or if said person wants to be 'turned onto his music' if you will.
You get it all on this album to me. The humor. The singing. (I happen to enjoy his singing dammit. Sue me if you must..) Rapping 'Tay IS thoroughly represented here TOO! Songwriting Tay. Introspective Tay. Shit talking Tay. Family Tay. Married Tay. Father Tay. All the parts of Phonte that have made his fans collectively clamor for THIS SOLO PROJECT.
For YEARS FANS HAVE ASKED FOR THIS. I mean YEARS. Every other interview I have read about him (including....well..yeah..mine too. No hot link this time. Look for it. It is around here somewhere..hint..UP TOP IN THE SLIDE SHOW) has asked or talked about this solo album.
Cats were SCARED IT WAS GOING TO BE ON SOME DETOX SHIT though. @ just a rumor. Others were concerned it would be him just singing. Some were concerned it would be him JUST RAPPING and didn't want that. Not me.
All I ever was concerned with was whether or not it would be a MIXTURE OF ALL OF HIS TALENTS as I knew he wouldn't be able to please us all by going one way or the other. His musical growth shouldn't be stunted in my eyes, albeit they are just MY EYES, so I am very happy to report that I am happy with the project. I am just one person but since I SPENT MONEY AND MY TIME* ON IT, I tend to care a little bit about my happiness with a product. Ya dig?
So here it is. My own breakdown of what I hear in each song/how I feel about each track. Not expecting you to AGREE or disagree. Maybe you hear something different. That is why this is not called a 'review'. I feel like reviews are....Nevermind...that's another post. I don't 'review' albums suffice it to say. I don't have to time to tell you about shit I don't like when it comes to music. Or I like to think I don't waste much time doing it. Here are some of the things that I like about Charity Starts At Home. I will try not to be too long yet not be too generic with it. Just point a line or two and keep it moving.
1. Dance in the Reign feat. @syberspace (Sy Smith) (Prod. by @SwiffD) Great way to start off the album. The humor comes out early with the 'I do this all for hip hop." line. Sy Smith delivers on the hook and Swift's sonic sound rounds this dope track. Cheerwine my nigs...If you are from the South or have been, you will appreciate the line. "Let that boy sautee'...."
2. The Good Fight (Prod. by @9thWonderMusic) I spoke on this when it leaked. This is grown folks relationship/job rap. Period. If you are living in Fantasy Land, you won't get it. If you are living in the 'Real World', with real life bills, responsibilities and the like, you can't help but get what he is saying.... "Everybody prays for the day they see the light but the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.." He actually quoted this on Twitter if you follow him....So you know it was said to make a point. Draw your own conclusions as to what that point is. I think it is pretty self explanatory. 9th on the beat. Dope.
3. Everything Is Falling Down feat. @Jeanne_Jolly (Prod. by @Khrysis) JEANNE JOLLY! Cotdamm....I mean put her name up in the search tab if you want to find out more about her. I love her voice. She is just a DOPE singer to me at this point. I am sure there is a 'genre' one might try to put her in but yeah. She does it all. She showed us that on Zo's just visiting three on "Same Old Love"...She brings velvet to this dope Khrysis beat while Phonte brings the pancake mix and the grill. The results? Red Velvet Pancakes my nig....This joint is dope. "Racing like (Richard) Petty in his stock...now we heavy on the block..like guards and left tackles..See where I come from if you and yours are up in arms like gun runners and you are confronted with 99 problems and can't keep it 100. Then at the day's end you ain't really done nothing..I made a new lane for myself and said "Fuck it". Why Rage Against The Machine when you can just unplug it?" With that, I think he just gave some of you who are wondering about 'his past' or his 'cred' a nice look while also dropping a gem about this music thing.
4. Not Here Anymore feat. @Elzhi (Prod. by @9thWonderMusic) Classic 9th track that some of us feared we would never hear Tay over again. As Tay has stated in print, every time him and Elzhi get together, fire comes from it. This is no exception. Tay is also KILLING THE HOOK. Classic stuff for those of you who only know him as the front for The Foreign Exchange. (Believe it or not folks, some folks only know him from that. Relax and don't sue 'em for it.)
5. Eternally feat. @MedianJL (Prod. by @9thWonderMusic) Moody, Tay and 9th. I feel like this track probably almost made The Sender. It has that 'feel' to it. I would be willing to be money it was in the works or canned during the time they made The Sender or VERY SHORTLY THERE AFTER. Now I have heard MCs do the 'back and forth thing' before with GREAT SUCCESS. Some have NO CLUE HOW TO EXIST ON THE TRACK TOGETHER. Mind you I know it was "produced' by a great board smith but it almost finish like they probably just sat down and KNOCKED THIS SHIT OUTTA THE PARK IN NO LESS THAN 3 TAKES. The chemistry is THAT GOOD ON THIS JOINT. They both are pushing each other on this track. Just straight spitting.... "Like that ya'll...get at ya'll...harass the track like a catcall....." HackSaw Jim Thuggin....aka Tay
6. Sendin My Love (Produced by @StroElliotMusic, intro by @AffionCrockett background vocals by @CarlittaDurand Another one of those 'grown folks' joints. Having been on both sides of the fence, I get it. Sure I won't be the only one. The skit by AFFION CROCKETT THOUGH. I imagine there will be many a 'in the car debate' with that one. On some 'Do YOU feel that way though?" type time. Which isn't a bad thing. More REAL DISCUSSION SHOULD BE HAD IN RELATIONSHIPS SO I am not opposed to it. I am sure some of you with more 'fragile' affairs are though.... The hook though. F.I.R.E. Carlitta and her honey fused voice meshed with 'Tay's equal greatness. Eric Roberson's pen is FELT through this joint too. @ him contributing to the writing it. "I know single men that will kill for a home cooked meal ..I know married men that will kill for a quiet house"
7. Ball and Chain (Prod. by @SwiffD) More Swift D stellar production and MORE OF THAT REAL LIFE TALK. You know, someone said (Hell, Tay said it himself to SOME DEGREE), that they don't want to see rappers rapping after a certain age. I beg to differ. I don't want to see rappers rapping about certain THINGS after a certain age. This shit here he is rapping about though? Yeah..We need that. For real. I mean rappers touch on relationships all the time but mostly on some superficial shit. Not this nigga Tay though. He has been getting to the 'meat of the matter' on this relationship shit for some time. This song is no exception. He is doing his rapping and sanging Tay shit on that Nate Dogg shit. His song writing skills shine on this joint. All the way. Then he has the NERVE to get on the track at the end and start spitting....You can also hear a lil Khrysis in the mix too.... "...just want to live in peace but can't show too many teeth 'cause she'll take shots at your crown...POWWW..another shot...another man down..." "
8. To Be Yours (Prod. by @Zo3hree5ive and @Phontigallo ) Zo! and Tigallo.....Always making songs that are JUST LONG ENOUGH. Makes you want more but know that you got enough. Kinda like when your Momma tells you that you can't get anymore food 'cause you had enough to eat. Sanging Tay...For. The. Win. With the dude I call 'The Piano Man' giving the lush backdrop.....
9. Gonna Be A Beautiful Night feat. @CarlittaDurand (Prod. by @SymbolycOne) SymbolycOne.....Producer of "Murder To Excellence"....yes THAT "Murder To Excellence"..... Showing his production range....Killing it. Carlitta....effortlessly murdering the hook. Tay again with the pancake mix and the grill. Cooking up magic. Lush but BUMPING TRACK. Beautiful music.
10. We Go Off feat. @PharoaheMonch (Prod. by @Fatin10) Yeah...go look up Fatin when you are finished here. 1/7 of the Soul Council. Put his whole damm lower region into this beat. Head nodder for sure. Pharoahe and Phonte just spit....spit....spit...spit..and then just spit some more damm more. Lyrical exercise. Ya'll niggas ain't tired right?- Jay-Z "Negro Spiritual Rap...slave to the rhythm....looking like I might go North...'cause I go off..." - Tay.
11. The Life of Kings feat. @Evidence & @BIGKRIT (Prod. by @9thWonderMusic) Sampled Run DMC for a part of the title. 9th diggin' in the crates as usual. Tay with the sensible rhymes on why he loves being a Southerner. Evidence showing you why he is just ONE OF THE BEST DOING IT. (Go get familiar if you don't know who Evidence is...) K.R.I.T. bring that Crooked Letter flow and Southern gentleman street/intelligent brother vibe to the track. I mean it is Evidence, K.R.I.T. and Tay. Another PURE SPITTING CONTEST. Everyone spits velvet on this joint in their own style and 9th laced 'em with a helluva backdrop to do it on. "It's a bad time to be an MC if you ain't rhyming right....I spit that China White... Nigga call it Hong Kong...."
12. Who Loves You More feat. @IamEricRoberson (Prod. by @EJONES_MUSIC) First off let me start off with E. Jones. I'd like to know what he was on when he made this beat? What kinda day was he having? This track is very layered. I'd love to know how long it took him to get it how he wanted. Very dope track. Now Erro makes another appearance and lays the track ALL THE WAY DOWN on its back. For real. Phonte helps out on the hook but gets SUPER INTROSPECTIVE on this track. Just like Track #3 (Hell all of the tracks but I digress), he shows you what he meant by that 'rapping against coffee house niggas' line he is KNOWN FOR was all about. He is very honest on this track. Picking one line is hard on this joint but here it goes....'Cause he is spitting on this joint. "Every player dreams of leaving the game...straight walking out. The allure of new pussy is cool but when it's over what the fuck you got to talk about...."