Phonte Coleman is one of the most underrated lyricists making hip-hop today. After a decade of recording as a member of Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange he has finally released his long-overdue solo project, Charity Starts At Home. The 12 track CD features everything fans have come to expect from Tigallo: witty wordplay, heartfelt vocals and lush, heavy-hitting beats. Te is best when he’s writing reality checks drawn on inspiration, so check out some of our favorite lines from the new project.
“Dance in the Reign”
“Flow so addictive/ it’s like habit forming/flow hair raising/it’s like rabbit farming…/Peter cottontail hoppin over beats and rockin acapells since the days of Akinyells..”
The title of the song alone sets up the many double entendres listeners will be treated to throughout the album. He could have stopped at the flip of hair and hare, but he literally and figuratively made it hip-hop by the next bar.
“Not Here Anymore”
“Yes Phontiga spit/Amazon flame/ watch 9th re-Kindle it/ cuz i-Pad verses with the wisdom of my innocence lost…/
Te is so subtle with this one that you could almost miss it if you’re not reading it. After not speaking for a few years 9th and Te literally rekindled their friendship earlier this year and this 21st century MC redefines a “book of rhymes.”
“Everything is falling down”
“I made a new lane for myself and said F8ck it/ Why rage against the machine when you could just unplug it?”
What’s telling about this project is that he’s put it out independently and has nearly as much buzz (if not more) than any of his releases on major labels. Matrix? What Matrix?
No such thing as Te without bars/ that’s like Pixar with no cars/ or seeing a dark-skinned DeBarge..
Point blank, Te raises more bars than Willy Wonka pole vaulting in Rikers. Pause.
“Sendin My Love”
“But wifey wants a scholar and a traveler/hunter and a gatherer/ and after I capture her now I gotta put my spear up?/”
The classic dilemma of any man trained to pursue his woman is that once she’s “caught” the hunter must now change the practices that made him successful in the first place. It’s a d**k thing.
“Ball and Chain”
“…when the love flames burn out /now your house lookin Smokey like the teardrops of a clown…”
Flipping both the literal ‘smoky’ and Smokey Robinson, Te not only references the classic song “tears of a clown” on this lamentation of marriage, he acknowledges that smoke literally makes you tear up. Word to Andre Rison.
“We Go Off”
“They say Phonte is the incarnation of verbal murder/ pin it on me like prom night.”
No, you missed it. He didn’t just say pin the murder on him. That would be too easy. He’s the in-CARNATION of verbal murder, the damn flower. Pin THAT sh*t on him like it’s prom night or drop it in the casket cuz your career is dead.
“These young’s want all of the spoils, but none of the toils/ Got me climbin the walls/ too good to press olives but be the first squeaky wheel lookin for oil…” Phonte, “Who Loves You More”
This is a long overdue indictment of the Internet generation raised on instant gratification. Give em a rotary phone and some rabbit ears then see how much hustle they have in em.
BONUS: DJ Flash dropped “The Best Of Phonte Mixtape” in advance of the album so here are some of my all time favorite Tigallo lines.
“Light It Up”
“Got plans to shine /style 3 times dope like eastern standard time…”
“On The way”
“Man of all seasons/ used to have a fetish for weed, women and grapes and I like them all seedless”
“The Yo Yo”
“Deep down you know that I’m right/ man I’m about to kick some Trick Daddy next poetry night like “my Black Queen, don’t know na’an n*gga!”
“Life of the Party”
We on the same page, we all on one accord/ Little do they know we all came in one Accord
“I See Now”
Respect game when it comes to my ex things/I keep em in line like rollerblades at the X-Games
“Welcome To Durham”
You Ain’t Ernie Barnes…/ stop drawin attention”
I target you herbs/On some teleprompter shit I got you watchin ya words/ Te rhymes is real life, yours is so for instance/ taxin these niggas like no dependents/ 12 bar courtrooom drama with no codefendants/ don’t beat it off/ come to your senses…
Ya’ll niggas is borin me/I’m never gon’ change up/please join a sorority go step your game up.”
Not a sex therapist lookin for inner peace/ I’mma sex terrorist invadin your middle east”