I’m excited, y’all. The Foreign Exchange is playing in DC on May 2nd. Now I’ve never seen the duo of singer/(sometimes) rapper Phonte and producer Nicolay live before (yes, you can publicly shame me here), but I’ve heard great things about their live set, and believe me when I say that I’m going to be ALL over this one. I’ve been a fan of the heartfelt and vibrant work of the group since their first record, 2004’s Connected, which is still a treasured burn for me, featuring some of the smoothest sounds and meaningful rhymes I’ve ever heard. Moving away from the rhymes the group has transitioned into a brilliant R&B collective and five albums deep they simply do not disappoint.
Tonight I’ve been bumping Nicolay’s 2006 solo effort, Here, a striking yet overlooked work which showcases his stellar productions and features artists such as Darien Brockington, Yahzarah, and even a young Wiz Khalifa (before we lost him to the weed raps). I admit I glossed over this record back in the day, but once I gave it a listen I fell for its charm and soul. This track in particular has always been a highlight for me.
“Give Her Everything” is an evocative and emotive work. Those words, “I give her everything…I buy her diamond rings…” looms over all, and is repeated endlessly to great effect. You can hear the pain and anger in the singer’s voice, and through the defiant drums and driven piano keys you begin to form your own story. I envision a faltering relationship. Distant people. A love lost which nothing, especially material things, can remedy. It’s amazing what Nicolay does here, telling a heartbreaking tale with a single line and an overwhelming tune. Well done.