The warm and conversational North Carolina rap elder statesman spent years bringing easy, unshowy skills and everyday wisdom as part of the group Little Brother. More recently, Phonte has spent more time singing than rapping, as his duo the Foreign Exchange have been exploring warped, sunny, off-kilter soul music. But now, with virtually no warning, Phonte is back to rapping, and he’s got a whole new album for us.
Phonte only announced his new LP No News Is Good News yesterday, but it’s already out in the world. It’s only Phonte’s second solo album; his first, Charity Starts At Home, came out way back in 2011. The new album doesn’t come with a lot of the fanfare that you might expect from a surprise release like that. Instead, it’s a calm, relaxed half-hour listen, with Phonte, as ever, bringing subtlety rather than showiness.
No News Is Good News only features a couple of guests, including Freddie Gibbs and the singer and old Phonte collaborator Eric Roberson. The beats are warm, organic, and full of melody. The whole album is just overwhelmingly pleasant, and you can stream the whole thing below.
No News Is Good News is out now on Foreign Exchange Music.