Charity Starts At Home by Phonte [2011]

TITLE: Charity Starts At Home

ARTIST: Phonte

RELEASE DATE: September 27 2011

When I first heard this project, I was a youngin getting ready to enter college. Little did I know Phonte (from Little Brother) was giving me an insight into my future. It wasn’t just my future of course but the future of most people as their life gets into that long drag of time we refer to as adulthood.

This is grown man music. Admittedly, I wasn’t very aware of Little Brother when they were on their come-up (I was in my early teen years at the time and the likes of G-Unit, Kanye West, Ludacris, etc. had my attention) but I had heard the name Phonte from time to time. Years later, I took a chance and listened to this album – and his debut made me a fan.

This isn’t some thug shit, this is REAL shit. Like wake up in the morning and have to go to work real (he handles this topic on the track The Good Fight) or fight with your girl and re-assess why you’re even in a relationship real (also covers this topic on the tracks Ball & Chain and Sending My Love).

It’s that realness that stuck out to me and keeps this album in steady rotation over the years. It’s a reflection of the growth a person experiences as they navigate through life. It helped me understand that it’s okay to be in the position I was and am in; there are others going through it. That’s the essence of Phonte though – he’s always letting hip-hop heads know the struggle isn’t just real, it’s relatable. Nobody in this world is ever truly alone, even if the person who can empathize with you may be on another side of the world. He restores the faith through his lyrics and storytelling and ultimately shows that while being an adult may be tough at times, it’s worth it in the long run.

It’s worth a listen if you’re looking for something introspective but also thought provoking. He asks questions that don’t necessarily have answers, but by simply asking yourself things like “why am I working this job?” or “why am I with this person?” or “what makes my life truly blessed?” it can make you a better person just having those thoughts float around in your head. It forces you to look at your life from a different angle and ultimately, in my honest opinion, that’s what makes great music. The wordplay and production and cadence etc. is on point, but that just adds to what makes this album great. Give it a listen if you’re trying to grow. Even if you don’t like it, I guarantee it’ll change you.

The album can be found below courtesy of Bandcamp: