The Foreign Exchange

Now here's an interesting concept: Phonte (vocals, song writing, arrangements, groupie control) and Nicolay (drums, bass, keys, guitars, samples, programming) have never met. They've never even spoken over the phone. That's right, their album was conceived over the internet. The exchange first began in 2002, when Phonte came across some of Nicolay's work online. Phonte asked Nicolay if he could rhyme over one of his tracks. Nicolay was impressed by Phonte's talent, and the exchange continued. The actual process worked like this: Nicolay would send Phonte tracks over Instant Messenger, to which Phonte would then add vocals, harmonies and melodies. Phonte would then send the completed track back to Nicolay for his input. The tracks on this album really are a foreign exchange, with Nicolay based in the Netherlands and Phonte in North Carolina. They each have very different musical backgrounds: Nicolay has classical roots whereas Phonte is a member of the underground rap group Little Brother. Both Phonte and Nicolay believe that the purpose of music is to bring people together. No matter what one's style is, music is about believing in one another's vision. For this reason, many guest vocalists appear on the record from an array of different musical backgrounds. The resulting album is a blend of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic soul. A truly conceptual piece of work. Best songs are: "Foreign Exchange Title Theme", "Hustle Hustle", "Be Alright" and "The Answer".

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