Phonte Coleman is an enigma of sorts. While he’s consistently proven himself to be one of the best emcees to ever touch a mic, he’s made a habit of eschewing his rap responsibilities to be the front-man for his singing group Foreign Exchange (FE). After three FE albums he finally gave in and dropped Charity Starts At Home, a riveting album full of grown man raps with grown man problems that grown people regardless of gender were able to relate to.
Even with how well received the album was, Phonte still didn’t want people begging for another one. In 2011, he told Jerry Barrow at Watchloud, “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.”
In his 2016 Watchloud interview, Coleman said people heeded the warning but he noticed there was still demand for him as an emcee. “The surprise for me was that people were still interested,” he said. “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.” Insert No News Is Good News, his second solo album set to debut in September.
Speaking on the new album, Phonte said the moniker was inspired by how crazy 2016 has been. “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,” he said. “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.”
Phonte also discussed how the writing process for the new album was different from Charity Starts At Home. He said the first album took over a year to write but the second one will be written in a much shorter time span. He also doesn’t have any confirmed guests or producers for the album just yet. He’s not speaking on it because “I could say I got this n*gga, and this n*gga, and then…them n*ggas don’t make it.”
While fans are waiting in the wings for No News Is Good News, they can scratch the Phonte fix with his newest collaboration album with Eric Roberson, Tigallero.