Their 2008 release, “Leave It All Behind,” got them a Grammy nomination for the song “Daykeeper.” Despite not winning (they should’ve won) , The Foreign Exchange is back with a vengeance in the form of “Authenticity.”
Typically, when one thinks of The Foreign Exchange—thoughts run to humor, and hip-hop, however, these elements are not necessarily shown as much with this album. What “Authenticity” lacks from predecessors “Connected” (2004) and “Leave It All Behind” (2008) it gains with it’s contemplative and dark honesty. This album features just four collaborations, two from longtime Foreign Exchange collaborators Yahzarah, and Darrien Brockington, as well as collaborations from Chantae Cann and Jesse Boykins III. The album is different from other Foreign Exchange music, however it’s still a great album.
Authenticity is an honest, revealing record of great potential to be one of those classics mentioned for our generation. The lyrics are thoughtful, charming and most of all genuine. Phonte proves to be the wordsmith we can depend on, making every experience real, and without judgment. It’s refreshing to hear such devotion on wax in our times. Yet, one of the most celebrated keys of success on this album is its diversity. Nicolay decided to continue with the same formula used on City Lights Vol. 2 Shibuya combining atmospheric 70s /80s jazz-fusion, elements of progressive rock movements, and softly laced broken beats. Separating themselves from the boom bap origin on previous albums showed musical growth and edginess that gives the genre a nice push in the right direction.
In other words, don’t expect the same old. Reaching new musical heights makes for a more enlightened listener (kind of like reading a book beyond your grade level). With the newfound sound FE never steers to far from home, home being the Hip-Hop groove. The lead single, “Maybe She’ll Dream of Me” is just enough of the FE we all know and love to lead us down the rabbit hole. A catchy hook, not too complex lyrics, and a well-delivered verse from Phonte. Then slowly you’re eased down to tracks like “Fight for Love” which displays a type of musical beauty you just want to fall in love behind, followed by a Zo! Keyboard solo as only he can give. Authenticity is the music that represents the love of our generation, and we have plenty of love to give, despite what previous generations may think.
Make sure you support good music and purchase “Authenticity” here.