Mixtape Chic gives it 4 out of 5 sneaks
Let me just start by saying “Dat boy good! *Coming to America voice*. Some would say that artists should either sing or rap and not both but Phonte did both and it worked exponentially. The combination of the two throughout the album shows Phonte’s versatility as an artist. This ablum should not be overlooked by anyone. There is something for all Hip Hop lovers on what we now know as Charity Starts At Home.
Unexpectedly, Phonte brings out his ‘lover’ side on more than a few tracks. On “Sending My Love” Phonte comes at you with a smooth delivery of his ever clever lyrics on this track. Likewise to “Ball and Chain,” the beat is fresh, being head bob worthy but smooth at the same time. You can ride to both of these tracks. Phonte’s combination of singing and rapping on the latter are complimentary. “To Be Loved” is a love song that is short, sweet and leaves you wanting more from the track. However, it is still a great addition to the track and a good transition to the next. On to the slow jam that is “Gonna Be a Beautiful Night.” It’s the type of track that is played at the end of the club. This Carlitta Durand assisted track breathes in your ears with ease. Another track regarding relationships comes in the form of “Who Loves You More.” The chorus reminds me of something that would be done by the likes of Stevie Wonder, which makes it an instant love. Now on to the ‘not-so-love’ songs…
“Dance in the Reign” is Phonte’s ode to the newbies. Basically saying, he’s been here and is not going anywhere. Even with him being MIA for nearly ten years, he’s still better than most. While “The Good Fight” has a mellow feel, the track brings you into Phonte’s mindset as an artist. ‘Tired of playin with yall. I wanna fight the good fight. But it ain’t payin dog.’ He’s doing things the fair way but is getting nowhere. The beat is less aggressive but fits the premise. A song of struggle, “Everything Is Falling Down” has a chorus that presses: ‘Pushing me to the brink. A stagger in my footsteps & I don’t even drink. Its so much on my mind dog & I can’t even think.’ The beat seems amature but it is neither a hit nor miss. The Elzhi featured “Not Here Anymore” has a stunning sample with impressive lyrics that fill the track from beginning to end. Both emcees bring the heat for you to feel. “Eternally” is Median assisted and a must-listen. With Phonte and Median exchanging rhymes that make you rewind and confirm what was actually said. Proven skills are evident on this track. The beat is overpowered by the lyrics. It seems too simple but at the same time it if there was more to it, it may not have worked. Tough lyrics to a beat that is too soft for its purpose loses the listener on “We Go Off.” Featuring Pharoahe Monch, the production needed something more to it. The beat would better suit a different track. I appreciate the sample on “The Life of Kings.” Although, Evidence seems to be lost in the song, Big K.R.I.T. and Phonte fit the track to perfection. It was made for them.
This album is a smash! Phonte always comes correct with his lyrics. Of course, it has its disappointments but all in all it is good. I will be recommending it to the skeptics.
Photo Chic gives it 4.5 out of 5 sneaks
“Yes Phontigga spit, amazon flame watch 9th re-Kindle it, cause i-Pad verses with the wisdom of my innocence lost" -Phonte
That right there pretty much sums up the genius of Phonte’s bars and there is much more that Charity Starts At Home has to offer. When Phonte goes over a 9th Wonder beat, magical things happen. If you are a fan of Little Brother, you already know how this goes. Let’s talk about Phonte, the solo emcee, though and another one of the best albums of 2011!
“Dance in the Reign” sets off the vibe of the album right away. Phonte’s delivery is flawless. The beat...the beat. Right from the jump this album establishes that North Carolina feeling that we’ve come to know and love. Yep, not New York, not California...that NORTH CAROLINA feeling! “The Good Fight” continues the vibe. This is a song that’s relatable to a lot of people now. “How the f*ck you sell out, when ain’t nobody sellin’?” It’s a real song, dealing with real people problems and told as a witty story by Phonte, the great. “Everything is Falling Down” continues that vibe. I know when I have a hard day, this is going to be the album that I go too to get myself back together again.
“Not Here Anymore” is just a beautiful song where Phonte drops the line that I opened this review with. The hook is sung by Phonte, showing those that may not know, his versatile talent. I must admit, when I heard Phonte was dropping his solo project, I was worried I’d hear more singing than rapping. Especially since he does both extremely well. He gave me a very good balance with this album though and I’m pleased. Oh, and Elzhi is on the track. Can you really go wrong with that?
“Eternally” features Median and as far as features go, this is my favorite on the album. I love the back and forth flow between Phonte and Median on this track. This is the kind of stuff I was hoping Jay-Z and Kanye West were going to bring to Watch the Throne, but didn’t.
“Sendin My Love” is a song that I think will appeal to all the old lovers out there. It’s a true story. The married people’s jam. “Ni**a be strong!” I love the production on this one by Stro Elliot. Now, this track goes right into “Ball and Chain,” a stand out single off of this album. This one made me want to kick my dogs because it’s so good. I even got a spoiler before hearing it and it still knocked my socks off. When I talk about a perfect balance of singing and rapping, this song drives that point home. The perfect fusion of the two to make an incredible jam. This is my favorite track off the album.
“Too Be Yours” is a nice transition into “Gonna Be a Beautiful Night,” which is also another track that makes me say DAAAMMMMNNNNN. This album is definitely going to appeal to the female population. This track belongs on all slow jam playlists from here on out. Make sure it’s on there!
“We Go Off” brings us back to the raw hip hop. The production by Fatin makes my neck sore. Head bobbing in full effect. Pharoahe Monch is a nice addition to the song, too. This song makes me want to slap someone. It goes hard...“Macro-hard, never Micro-soft!” Next up “Life of Kings” produced by 9th Wonder and features two very dope emcees by the name of Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. I love these guys individually and for them to come together over this 9th beat, makes me extremely happy. K.R.I.T.’s verse on this...OH MY!!!
Every great album must come to an end. Phonte ends it with “Who Loves You More,” another head bobber for me. A great song to vibe yourself out of the album too. If that makes any sense.
My only complaint about this album...too short. I could have rocked to 20 tracks by Phonte, but at the end of the day, I am more than pleased with this project. Why didn’t I give it a 5? I’m just a rugged hip hop chic. At times it was just a tad bit too soulful for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it! I really do, but I’m just not that soft of a female to appreciate it on a “perfect” level. Lol.