Phonte: Kanye’s 808’s “Act Of Cowardice”

First of all, why do people try to mislead with headlines?? Blogger Byron Crawford (aka Bol) takes Phonte’s words that Kanye’s ALBUM was “an act of cowardice”, and manipulates them to Phonte attacking Kanye’s character as a man, and types his headline “Phonte: ‘Kanye’s A Coward'”.  It’s irresponsible, and just like Jay Smooth’s discussion of calling someone a racist vs. pointing out that their actions/words were racist, it does no good.

Listen to Phonte talk about 808’s, or read highlights below:

“I personally did not like the album. I thought it was … I honestly thought it was an act of cowardice. I just think that if you’re gonna make the creative leaps to sing, then really sing. Let your voice come out, and let people hear all the idiosyncrasies in your voice because that’s what makes you uniquely you,” Phonte continued… “It just was a case of the reach extending the grasp.”

Love my man Kanyizee. Wordsmith. Producer. Blogger. Autotuner. Hot artist signer (Cudder).

I love Phonte Coleman. 1/2 of Little Brother. Wordsmith. Comedian. 1/2 of Foreign Exchange. Sainger. All around entertainer.

This one is difficult for me… like seeing your two good friends get into a scuffle. “No, don’t do it… reconsider!” (c) Andre 3k. As much as I loved 808’s (for it’s boldness, emotion, melody, and drums), some of the Autotune annoyed me. I’m able to stomach it, however, because I respect Kanye “needing to get this out” based on the recent hardships in his life — it was an outlet, an expression, for better or worse. And I also understand what Phontigallo is saying. Especially coming from such a talented singer like himself, who takes pride in his talent, yet is able to poke fun at the ridiculousness of contemporary pop/R&B music through characters like Percy Miracles.

It’s very interesting, given Tay and Ye’s relationship. I remember on the OkayPlayer boards back in 2003-2004, when okayplayerhaters were arguing the merits between Kanye’s “breath of fresh air” to hip hop with College Dropout vs. Little Brother’s first opus, The Listening. I owned The Listening, but didn’t really get into it until 3-4 months after I bought it. So, to me, this was a case of bitter Little Brother fans complaining that there were similar concepts and artistry in LB’s music. But as a big fan of “LB Bidness!”, I now see some early similarities.

Then, at an album release party for Graduation, Kanye said he was inspired by one of the members of Little Brother, and was worried he’d take the lane Kanye was aiming for. However, he didn’t mention Phonte by name, which irritated Tay, and he said something to the effect of “if he respects and likes us so much, let’s do another song together!”. Kanye and Little Brother recorded “I See Now” for Consequence’s Take ‘Em To The Cleaners mixtape… and it’s hilarious.

So, all in all, I just think Phonte has a little chip on his shoulder with Kanye as a RAPPER (who knowingly admires Phonte’s skills). Now, you throw in him SINGING, and Tay can’t stay silent. Foreign Exchange, Phonte’s project with producer Nicolay where he primarily sings, has two incredible albums under their belt, with true, soulful notes from Phonte. Those are under appreciated records, and Tay never bites his tongue when he has an opinion. I just hope this inspires great music from the both of them… maybe even a friendly battle.  Now THAT would be entertaining.

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8 Responses to “Phonte: Kanye’s 808’s “Act Of Cowardice””


  1. 2 t-pain 01/23/2009 at 4:01 pm

    Foreign Exchange’s ‘Leave it all Behind’ is a classic – sincere, soulful and vulnerable (listen to Valediction). In a word, artistry.

    808’s is not artistry.

    And sadly, too many people will not hear any of Foreign Exchange’s music and claim that Phonte is simply jealous and ‘hating’ because of Kanye’s success in the business.

  2. 3 eromedome22 01/23/2009 at 4:22 pm

    Trav, good words, and I agree with the depths of beauty in Foreign Exchange’s music, but I still believe there is artistry involved with Kanye’s project. His voice was one aspect (which is getting all the attention), but the song structures, concept, and content were filled with creativity…. in my humble opinion.

  3. 4 eromedome22 01/23/2009 at 4:24 pm

    I’d like to hear 808’s & Hearbreaks, same beats, all sung by Phonte…

  4. 5 Mikey McFly 01/24/2009 at 2:33 am

    Eric, that would be an interesting project

  5. 6 thegrip 01/24/2009 at 5:49 pm

    Heartless, Street Lights, and Paranoid are amazing.

  6. 7 MB 01/27/2009 at 5:46 pm

    Memories fade but the scars still linger = memories made in the coldest winter.

    Taking someone elses music, changing a few words, “singing it”, and then calling it creative is hard to argue here. Then again, I can’t say I could do the same.

    I think my final verdict on 808’s is that it was an underachievement for Kanye. However, an underachievement for him is still pretty good.

  7. 8 Kinetik 01/28/2009 at 7:52 pm

    Mannnnnn…I see what Phonte saying…I heard what Kanye did…I still rock 808s…still rock Connected and LIAB…Cats can voice their opinions and its good that they do.

    Check my resume, I don’t need Autotune but I freaks it when I use it.


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