Phonte – Charity Starts At Home Album Review

Dance In The Reign (prod by Swiff D)
The start of the album is a hard hitting, organ melody where Phonte shows that he is so content of his so-called rank in the rap game. He clearly could care less about it. He cares more about his overall life and not just the rap game, rap is only a smart part of it. A cool look into the mind of Phonte. Solid track.

“No one can’t say his life aint his, some might even say ‘underachiever’ cause they are not believers that I don’t want the world but I done seen the world and if you ever saw it, hell, you wouldn’t want it either”

The Good Fight (prod by 9th Wonder)

The total honesty in this track will resonate with the average human being. The bluntness from Phonte is almost hilarious because a lot of what he says is totally accurate. Everybody is fighting that fight, that grind and it can be tough at times. Phonte paints such a clear picture of that. I’m loving the beat as well. What a wonderful track.

“Everybody prays for the day they see the light
But the light at the end of the tunnel is a train
5 dollar gas, and poverty rates, are rising much higher than your hourly rates
So if you thinkin ’bout quittin you should probably wait

Cuz everybody gotta do a fuckin job that they hate
“Go and live out your dreams” thats what they tellin
Fam in my ear all day and they yellin
“Keep it real Te”, and don’t ever sellout
But how the fuck you sell out when ain’t nobody sellin?”

Everything Is Falling Down (prod by Khyrsis)
The everyday fight theme is continued here where he spits more bars on all the stresses that once went on in his life. I like his line that tell the solution to his problems,

“I made a new lane for myself and said f**k it, why rage against the machine when you can unplug it?”

Jeanne Jolly’s voice in the chorus sounds so smooth while Phonte is giving a flash of reality to listeners thus far. If you are a realist, you should be loving this album by now.

Not Here Anymore ft Elzhi (prod by 9th Wonder)

A signature 9th Wonder beat that has a nice groove to it. Though Phonte is not as active in the game as he once was, he wants the younger MCs to know that he is still one of the nicest. Elzhi brings his A game when partnering with Phonte (remember Hiding Place?), he killed this.

“You just running game nigga, we the fu**in tournament”

Eternally ft. Median (prod by 9th Wonder)
Phonte and Median going back and forth on a 9th beat, I can’t complain. Cool track

Sending My Love (prod by Stro Elliot)
A unique track with a smooth beat and chorus. Phonte speaks on the ups and downs of being in a committed relationship. In the end, being in one is worth all the “pain”. “BE STRONG TIGALO”. The bassline is very smooth with the right depth. I’m 2 stepping.

“Something in the way society rears us, commitment weirds us….out, it tears us apart, and make us feel like we dont need to and that turns in to I dont need you…”

Ball And Chain (prod by Swiff D)
Ever been stuck in a relationship that was so great but so terrible at the same time? This is the track for you. Although there are great lyrics here, I can’t seem to agree with the mixture of the clubbish beat and Phonte’s singing. Small speed bump with the flow of the album

“She is my cure and my disease”

To Be Yours (prod by Zo! and Phonte)
A very melodic, enticing type of track where Phonte is singing. You would hear this in a lounge or a jazz club. It’s only 1:32 long but it’s a welcoming introduction to the next track.

Gonna Be A Beautiful Night (prod by S1 and Caleb)
Sounding right out of a Foreign Exchange album, this is a smooth, airy and melodic tune with some hard ass drums. Phonte and Carlitta Durand trade lovely verses as if they are head over hills for one another. He dabbles with rapping and singing here. Perfect balance of both. This is a very good love song.

“Because you are my melody I mean my inner song, a sun ray of light to let me know the winter’s gone”

We Go Off ft Pharoahe Monch (prod by Fatin “10” Horton)

Now back to the rapping. The beat. Smh. Sounds like some Power Rangers at the beginning then drops to a prolonged yell, so mean with that secondary tune and break. The title of the track is fitting to describe both verses.

“negro spiritual rap, slave to the rhythm, looking like I might go north” -Phonte

“Sick gonorrhea clap! Onomatopoeia, smack the sh*t out you, you have no idea” -Pharoahe Monch

The Life Of Kings (prod by 9th Wonder)
Phonte recruits Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. to speak on royalty. All speak on the life of a humble king which they consider themselves. This is very easy track to listen to, 9th’s beat is a smooth soul sample that is somewhat relaxing. “I’m the kiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggg!”

“Take some time to dream, peace of mind is a delightful thing”

Who Loves You More (prod by E.Jones)

The production here has a unique melody to it, I get a feeling of Sonic 2 for some reason. Nonetheless, I like it alot. Phonte touches on a common situation where individuals get involved in petty acts before thinking of the consequences. He brings the album title home ending the song with….”Always take care of home because home is where charity starts”

“Every player dreams of leaving the game, straight walking out / The allure of new pu**y is cool but when it’s over what the f**k you got to talk about?”

“Too good to press olives but will be the first squeaky wheels asking for oil”

Phonte’s 1st solo album turned out to be a delight for me. I like that he incorporated some of his singing in his tracks. Some may be turned off by it if they are not a Foreign Exchange fan but for those of us who are, it is nice bonus. On the rap side of things, he shows that he is the same. If you go way back to The Listening, Phonte’s skills as a MC have been razor sharp ever since. The subject matters mainly revolve around love and life where Phonte’s honesty is what will make you enjoy these tracks. The production is very good and hearing Phonte on a 9th Wonder beats again is a treat. At times, I was hoping for most versatility from 9th but it’s ok, the beats are still great. I can let this album play from start to finish. 12 tracks was a good length for this, I felt satisfied because 11 out of 12 I thoroughly enjoyed. This album is worth the cash and the sync to the pod. As phonte once said, “dope beats, dope rhymes, what more do ya’ll want?!?!”Overall Rating: 8.6/10

Top 3 Songs: The Good Fight, Gonna Be A Beautiful Night, Who Loves You More

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