The Foreign Exchange, +FE Music: The Reworks (+FE)
The Foreign Exchange is hard to peg. Thanks to the presence of rapper-turned-singer Phonte, it’s like soul music for hip-hop lovers over the age of 30. Their previous projects have all received critical acclaim, and the duo of Phonte and Nicolay release a double disc of remixes to thank their fans for the support. With the likes of 4Hero, Pirahnahead, Focus and others contributing, the results are an eargasm of soulful vibes. Highlights range from the new treat “So What if It Is” and its groovy electronica vibe to the soothing Ahmed Sirour rehash of “All The Kisses.” While R&B is busy trying to emulate their hip-hop counterparts, it’s good to know that The Foreign Exchange remains true to their genre. ★★★★☆
Joe Budden, No Love Lost (eOne)
After being released from Def Jam a decade ago, Joe Budden crawled back to relevancy with one strong independent release after another. With his popularity peaking thanks to reality TV, Budden drops No Love Lost. Budden offers an album that is much like his personality: unpredictable. One minute he’s rhyming alongside Lil Wayne on the women-friendly radio hit “She Don’t Put It Down” and the next he’s mulling over the pitfalls of addiction on “All In My Head.” No Love Lost is fitting for Budden but may lose the fans who only prefer one side of his personality. ★★★☆☆
J. Cole, Truly Yours EP (Self-Released)
The North Carolina MC offers an EP to hold over fans until he releases his sophomore album, Born Sinner. Truly Yours’ five songs won’t make his next project, but Cole’s table scraps are satisfying. “Rise Above” showcases a moving narrative, while “Tears for ODB” bleeds honesty as Cole explains that his presence is much more than witty metaphors. Considering that Cole can be elusive in the press and on social media, getting him to cough up these songs is all the more rewarding for those who enjoy his work. Truly Yours is truly ours, and it is appreciated. ★★★★☆
Upcoming albums on Andreas’ radar …
MARCH 26: Does Lil Wayne still have “it?” We’ll find out when Weezy drops his mixtape, I Am Not A Human Being II.
APRIL 2: Tyler, The Creator looks to get the momentum for Odd Future churning again when he drops the highly anticipated Wolf album. It will be interesting to see if he’s matured since Goblin.
APRIL 16: Ghostface and his always-entertaining stream of slang return with Twelve Reasons to Die.