By Seher Sikandar
The Foreign Exchange (Nicolay and Phonte of Little Brother) play Yoshi’s SF with a full band at midnight on Saturday, September 12th. Wait, what? Yeah – midnight, y’all – for a special “Beyond Jazz Music Series.” You can get tickets for $25 at Yoshi’s website.
In preparation for the show, I got the guys to sit down with me for about half an hour to answer some of my favorite questions. Phonte talks about how he wishes he was Theo from The Cosby show, why he is the boss of himself, and spying on his kids. Nicolay shares college dropout fantasies, stories of his mama’s records, and simple kidnapping best practices. More on that in un momento.
Their debut, Connected, was a uniquely melodic hip-hop record. It introduced me to one of my favorite female vocalists, Yahzarah (former background singer for Erykah Badu) – homegirl gets it in. She will stomp yo ass out with those pipes, forreal forreal.
Judging from their sophomore release, Leave It All Behind, being formulaic clearly isn’t part of the plan, though. The follow-up work steps away a bit from the group’s hip-hop roots and trades it in for a haunting soul sound sprinkled with ambient and house vibes where Phonte decided to sing more than rap. Electro-soul space cadet and DC-based songstress, Muhsinah, was the first lady for this album. Tingles up and down your spine type isht right there.