Nicolay Tells Kanye To Leave It All Behind

JLBarrow • October 25, 2008 • 6 Comments

By Jerry L. Barrow

In an up-coming interview with Phonte and Nicolay of The Foreign Exchange give a track-by-track breakdown of their sophomore LP, Leave It All Behind.  During the convo Nicolay was asked if any “additives” were put on Phonte’s voice (the prolific MC is singing for a majority of the disc) and the Dutch producer gave his opinion on the “auto-tune” phenomenon as it relates to one Mr. West.

“Outside of what you would normally put on a voice like compression, reverb or delay nothing was used to correct pitch. There are a few places you could even say its not perfectly on pitch. The bigger part is the performance and the sincerity. We didn’t try to stylize it and make it slick and clean. We have no business trying to compete with the Ushers and the Ne-Yos. We are in a lane of our own with the underground hip-hop soul vibe. I’m as strong a believer in Phonte’s singing voice as his rapping. It was the singing voice that I really got attracted to on stuff like “Nic’s Groove.” I’ve always been a fan of that sing/rap hybrid so it’s a logical thing that he’d sing now. He dropped like ten albums before where his main focus was rap, I think he should do both as much as he can.

There wouldn’t be a point to using [Autotune] like Kanye has done it. Kanye uses the effect because he likes the effect, but if he uses it because he can’t sing, then that’s a different story. I think in that particular case he could have let somebody else sing that track[“Love Lock Down.”] I see that song being a massive freakin hit for someone like Rihanna, someone that can give it a lot of aggression and power. I think it’s a great song. It’s an example of somebody going beyond what they can do really, really well.  I’ve used Autotune in the past because I¹m a huge Daft Punk fan and it sounds like he really didn’t use it right. There were still some notes in there where it was like “ah.” As an artist you should never be self indulgent. You have to be your own quality control and you can’t tell me there is anybody in his circle anymore that’ll say “you might want to sleep a night on that one.” If I’m on some real musical bullshit I know that Phonte will be like ‘uh uh.’ It’s a blessing to have people that will be straight up with you. I love that song, the melody and drums, but not with him.”

Read the Making of Leave It All Behind here and Check out the video for The Foreign Exchange’s “Daykeeper” and Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” below:

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