Last year when we interviewed Phonte Coleman to discuss The Foreign Exchange’s Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey, he issued a stern warning when asked about the possibility of another solo album to follow 2011’s Charity Starts At Home. “If people never ask me to rap never again, I more than likely will rap again. But the more people ask me about that shit the more it makes me not want to do that shit. So to my fans, the best way to ensure that I do another solo record is to never ask me about it ever again in life.”
Almost a half year later ‘Te announced that he was not only releasing a joint project with R&B singer Eric Roberson called Tigallerro (out now) but he dropped the bomb that a new solo album called No News Is Good News would be following soon after. Evidently, according to Phonte, the warning worked.
“No one asked me! N*ggas ain’t said shit,” he says with a laugh. “There was that silence. No one said shit about an album. So thank you WatchLOUD for keeping n*ggas out my mentions.”
While he put the mute button on album talk, in that time Phonte kept his pen sharp dropping guest verses on PRhyme’s “Highs and Lows” and Torae’s “Clap Shit Up” (which we’ll be talking about soon for an upcoming Spot Rusherz) as well as with work on VH1’s “The Breaks.” But committing to a full length project wasn’t something we foresaw at all. So why the change of heart?
“Just wanting to prove that it’s not a fluke I guess,” he says. “I’m always up for new challenges and I’m always just trying to do something I haven’t done before. And the idea of being the rap solo artist was something that never really appealed to me in that way. Once we ended Little Brother I was like aight I’ll do some verses here and there, I’ll do Foreign Exchange and that was kind of it. After Charity I said “Well, I did the rap album, what’s next?” The surprise for me was that people were still interested. With LB we put out so much material in a short period of time and I thought n*ggas was tired. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. But what I discovered is that people were late getting onto it. I’d hear ‘I just listened to the Minstrel Show’ three or four years after it came out. So sometimes it takes time for the people to catch it. Through no fault of their own. So it wasn’t until like 2012 that I saw that there was still demand for me as an MC. But I didn’t want to make records for the sake of making records. If I didn’t feel like I had something new to say or an inventive way to say it I didn’t want to waste people’s time. So with the new record, Charity was five years ago so I have to show people how I’ve changed, how I’ve grown in that time and just give my take on the world as it is now, through the lens of a person who has grown in those years. I can’t wait to hear it myself.”
As for the album, No News Is Good News, Te was tight lipped about producers or even a theme, but he did reveal that it would be “mostly rapping” and expounded on the meaning behind the title.
“I think in 2016, I never thought we’d be a society where if you log on to social media and you see a person’s name repeatedly your first thought is that they died or something bad happened. That’s so crazy. If you ain’t hearing about someone you think they fell off. No, he ain’t fell off. He good, he chillin’. He at a Frankie Beverly & Maze concert right now in a white linen shirt and short set and he’s living. He’s good. And that’s kind of where I’m at.”
Watch the full video above and check back for our full interview about the making of the stellar Tigallerro album.