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Charity Starts at Home (HBD)

As a lifelong hip-hop fanatic, I sometimes consider what I’ll play in my ’40s, while driving my kids to school. Will The Roots constitute “oldies”? When do The Clipse become The Beatles? Phonte Coleman’s first solo effort eases my forward-thinking mind. Phonte’s always made mature hip-hop about grown-man topics (infidelity, love, mortgages) with Little Brother and Foreign Exchange. Charity doesn’t stray far from home, but past lessons learned hone this debut into a tight display of one prodigiously talented man’s two distinctive voices: as a heartfelt soul singer and arguably rap’s most underrated lyricist. Sprinkle in guest verses matching his bar-for-bar, and you’ve got one of the best albums of the year---bar none.

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