Charity Starts At Home Review
Last year Little Brother dropped their last album as a group. It was disappointing to say the least that a group who dropped a classic “The Minstrel Show” would disband. They dropped two albums since The Minstrel Show but they didn’t measure up to their predecessor or their mixtapes. 9th Wonder did his producing grind, Rapper Big Pooh dropped a couple of albums, and Phonte focused on his new R&B outlet The Foreign Exchange.
Fast forward a year later since the release of “Leftback” and Phonte gives us his solo album “Charity Starts At Home”. A refreshing insight of a man opening up about his personal experiences that he has encountered at this point in his life. The album takes you through a different range of emotions that show as you get older in life your perception changes and you value things differently. Phonte said it best “Hip Hop hasn’t changed, I’ve changed.” The change has brought out dope material on CSAH. Whether you’re a Little Brother or Foreign Exchange fan, Phonte finds a great balance of singing and lyricism to satisfy all listeners. When Tigallo does an album he always keeps a concept or theme through the album with subject matter and production. The production was centered around 9th Wonder, so the other producers had to stay within the vibe of the other tracks. Doing this the production has a more cohesive feel versus picking random producers to throw the sequencing of the album off.
On the 9th Wonder produced “The Good Fight”, Phonte painted a perfect picture of how the working class individual feels everyday. “$5 gas & poverty rates/are rising much higher than your hourly rates/ so if you thinking about quitting you should probably wait/cuz everybody gotta do a fucking job that they hate”. Phonte’s approach is relatable on so many levels because at some point we all have felt this way.
On the track “Gonna Be A Beautiful Night” Tigallo reached out to producer S1, the man responsible for Kanye West’s “Power”. It’s a smooth track that balances Phonte’s ability to sing and drop lyrical eargasms. This track plays on boy meets girl, girl likes boy, and he’s trying to prove to her he wants more than a quick get away. “My friends, your friends/always got there eye on me/always trying to spy on me/outlook narrow/ like crabs in a barrel or ants in a colony/ they front but I’m thinking lakefront property”. It’s good to hear positive lyrics towards women and it shows a clear define line in the generation gap between him & the digital rappers.
On the banger “Who Loves You More” the album comes together full circle touching on infidelity, family struggles, and struggles with personal demons. He spits “some get hand picked/ others get picked on/ some get a hand up/ others get disarmed/I came from the bottom where the guns got withdrawn/all lows no highs man/get a stiff arm/see me doing records/so they think it makes alot/but really I’m just trying to make Salat/ like I was raised Islam/ praying that the ends justify the means/cuz most of my heroes had fucked up lives/ coked up kids and 3 or 4 wives”. Phonte always has bars but it’s the message he’s conveying across to the masses that draws you in.
Mr. Coleman delivered a very solid album with great features from Elzhi, Evidence, Pharaoh Monch, and Big K.R.I.T. The production and subject matter compliment each other very well by the end of the album. This album is worthy of the IPod or the whip and is a must have for the rotation. No matter what obstacles are brought before you take care of home first and Phonte displayed it perfectly.
-Reyhan All Crews United