Because of the Internet’s omnipotent networking potential, in 2004, North Carolina-based MC Phonte established a creative kinship swapping tracks via Instant Messenger with Holland-based producer, Nicolay. They became Foreign Exchange, an eclectic side project separate from Phonte’s work with Hip Hop group Little Brother and Nicolay’s signature Drum and Bass mixes. Though debut Connected manifested online, Phonte’s sinuous rhymes conjoined with Nicolay’s dusky down-tempo grooves so naturally, the time-zone difference was undetectable.
Foreign Exchange’s 2008 follow-up, Leave It All Behind has Connected’s chemistry, and although Nicolay now lives in North Carolina, they continue to swap meet over the ‘Net. The difference this time — Phonte doesn’t rap. Singing in mid-range and falsetto, he and longtime recording alum, Darien Brockington, do three-part harmonies with female vocalists Musinah and Yazarah that invoke sensuality into Nicolay’s shadowy minor-chord arrangements.
Foreign Exchange play MIXX Ultra Lounge with Darien Brockington, Musinah and Yazarah.