Phonte Charity Starts at Home

PhonteCharity Starts at Home
"Don't need a new style/Being dope is always in fashion," Phonte intones on "Everything is Falling Down" for good reason. Once you get past the disbelief that Charity Starts at Home is Phonte's first official solo effort, you realize what you're is going to get: cool production, that trademark North Carolina-inflected sharp witted raps and some "New Tigallo" by way of Foreign Exchange styled crooning. To the point, nothing less than what one expects from Phonte. With a twist, however; Phonte brings a newfound maturity to the table, an outlook framed by the dissolution of hip-hop trio Little Brother set next of the Grammy nominated success of R&B/hip-hop outfit Foreign Exchange. "Not Here Anymore" was just the teaser, the acknowledgement of Little Brother alum/producer 9thth Wonder and Phonte's partnership being stronger than ever. As expected, Phonte showcases his vocals (which grow more polished each time out). The short but sweet "We Go Off" features a nice Fatin 10 beat and an always welcome Pharaohe Monch appearance, while tracks like "Everything is Falling Down" wouldn't sound out of place on a Little Brother record. Pulling out the crystal ball, one sees Charity Starts at Home on the year-end best of lists. (Foreign Exchange)