“Following our debut episode of Let the Record Show with Talib Kweli, for our new installment we sat down with the Grammy-nominated duo The Foreign Exchange, an R&B/electronic group made up of vocalist Phonte Coleman and producer Nicolay. For those not familiar, the pair formed in 2002 after meeting on the OkayPlayer.com message boards. They earned their namesake by recording their first album over the internet, without ever meeting in person. Coleman was 1/3 of breaking North Carolina hip-hop trio Little Brother, while Nicolay was a budding producer from the Netherlands.
When Phonte wasn’t recording rap verses with 9th Wonder and Rapper Big Pooh, he would sing his heart out, creating smooth, electronically-tinged R&B cuts with Nicolay. Eventually Little Brother would break up, leading Phonte’s Foreign Exchange side-project to become his full-time gig. Fast-forward to today, they’ve released six albums together and built a loyal fanbase in the process. You can currently find Phonte as co-host of Pandora’s Questlove Supreme with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He also just released an album this past July with Eric Roberson called Tigallero.
Once again, Let The Record Show co-host Warren Peace and I set to find out what songs inspired both Phonte and Nicolay’s creative tastes and led to their sonic output as The Foreign Exchange. Tracking down a list of cuts from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, and others, they took us on a musical journey of tasteful selections and incredibly personal anecdotes, discussed as the vinyl records revolved on a portable turntable.
Watch the whole video for Phonte’s brilliant Al Green impression and a surprise bonus track at the end. If you enjoy this, please like, follow, share, recommend, tweet, subscribe, etc so we can continue to bring more episodes like this. Thank you for your support.”