The realest conversation I ever had about relationships came about a year into my marriage. I was at a bar with my best friend and we were shooting the usual shit. He was only a few months behind me in the nuptials department but he’d been living with his wife longer. Up until tonight we’d checked in on each other periodically and given the usual “everything is fine” updates over the phone and Instant Messenger (remember that?). But as the brown liquor was drained from our glasses the facade began to fall and one of us–I can’t remember who–finally blurted out, “She’s driving me crazy!” and the other’s eyes widened in knowing agreement: “You, too??” And there was this profound relief in knowing that we weren’t alone. Our wives couldn’t be more different but there were uncanny similarities in our experiences adjusting to marriage. We spent the next hour trading notes, laughing and kicking each other for not being honest sooner. It may have been the saving grace for both of us because 15 years and five kids between us later we’re still hanging in there, by hook or by crook. Sometimes your boys are the only ones who get it.
This revelation is why albums like Phonte and Eric Roberson’s Tigallerro are like musical salves. Somewhere between the carnal savagery of Future and the doting almost satirical sappiness of Drake, lies a more realistic conversation about men and their feelings about women. From the celebratory “So Easy” and “My Kind Of Lady” to the cautionary “Thru The Night” and “Never The Same Smile” the album offers a more nuanced look into the complicated and harder to decipher situations that define our romantic lives.
WatchLOUD caught up with Phonte to offer some insight into the creation of the album and the lessons held within. Watch the video or read the full transcript below.
The Concept for Tigallerro.
Me and Eric Roberson had been talking about doing something together for a long time. We had always done music together, sent each other tracks. He did the hook for “Who Loves You More” from my Charity Starts At Home album the night before I turned it into mastering. We’ve always kind of worked that way. So finally we was like “We need to do a record together.” This was early as 2009, 2010. 2013 came around and we put a video up on Instagram saying that the album was coming in 2015 and 2015 came and we didn’t make it. Finally at the top of this year me and Erro sat down and said we gonna bang this shit out. It’s now or never.
It was a really intense two or three months. At the time I was working on Tigallerro and Zo!’s Skybreak. Erro on the other hand just had his third kid. Looking back I don’t know how we did this shit. But I’m just thankful we got it done.
His growth as an artist.
I definitely feel like it’s a continuation or represents where I am as a man. I wrote Charity during the middle of my divorce. There was a lot going on. It was a darker record and kind of angry. Tigallerro is a lot lighter. I hope people enjoy it. It was a very laborious process to get it done. In terms of where I am now, I’m more secure in who I am. I have a greater understand of me and what I want out of life. I think it represents that realization. This is how we move.
The name Tigallerro
It started as a joke. When I first started putting tracks together and getting all the ideas together I made my iTunes playlist, and Tigallerro is just what I called it on some joke shit. Then I just started saying it in songs. And after awhile we said this shit kinda works. We tried to do “real” names like things like “Simon and Garfunkle” “Coleman and Roberson” but finally we said Tigallerro and…fuck it.
TTN is basically me living out my fifth member of Jodeci fantasy. It’s my homage with the real thick harmonies on the hook, some of the ad-libs. Shout out to K-Ci, Jojo, Devante and Dalvin. In terms of the subject matter the inspiration is kind of dark. I was watching something on TV about AA and one of the guys said they tell you to take it a day at a time. But sometimes you gotta take it minute by minute. You just gotta break it down into smaller increments. Lemme just make it to lunch. Then if i make it lunch, lemme just make it to dinner. Break it down little by little and I thought that was really interesting and heartfelt. Taking a really big problem and breaking it down little by little to achieve a greater effect. For “Thru The Night” it was like a lot of times, brothers like us that travel, not even just music guys. One of my homeys is a dentist and their conferences be lit as fuck. It’s not solely for guys in the entertainment business. It’s about just making it through the night. I know there are women here but let me just get back to my woman.
“Now she airing you out in 140s…”
I think that’s every celebrities nightmare. I think now social media has changed the world in so many ways. One thing it has eroded is any semblance of discretion of separation. You talk to some of the OGs that toured, there was a time that if you lived in this city and you went on tour, you had girls in [different cities]. And my girl in NY in New York is only my girl in NY. When I got to Kansas, never the two shall meet. But now with social media that girl in NY is everywhere. So when you post a pictured of you with the girl in Kansas the girl in NY is posting “Oh, wow, really? Word?” and then people are screen-shotting it and Bossip picks it up and it’s a different game now. So this is for the brothers in the struggle trying to do the right thing and not abusing the spoils of their success. See the bigger picture. Go home and be a family man. You don’t want to be on IG getting aired out.
“Better run off on the Plug like Prince Paul…”
That was one of those lines…sometimes I write stuff and I know not everyone is gonna get this. Btu the people who are gonna get it, are gonna fuckin lose it. Sometimes to me that’s worth it. It’s worth losing some people if you get the people that really catch it. In terms of writing it has to work on both levels. I do’t know how it came to me. I might have been watching a Plies video—shout out to Plies—he’s one of the great motivational speakers and black leaders of our time. He was on the #Ranoffontheplugtwice tour, that’s the name of his tour. Somehow I was like “oh De La soul is the plugs, and Prince Paul used to produce for De La Soul…” that’s where it came from.