Phonte: "My Job Is to Make You Feel Less Alone in the World"

"If can't live it, I ain't gone rhyme it."
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Fresh off the release of his acclaimed new album, No News is Good News, veteran MC Phonte was a guest Monday on Ebro Darden's program on Beats 1 on Apple Music.  

In response to Darden citing his influence over modern day superstars such as Drake and Kendrick Lamar, Phonte detailed, in his opinion, the job of a recording artist, and explained why his specific approach has been so successful. 

"I never wanted to rap something that I couldn't do. That's just my driving force. If I can't live it, I ain't gone rhyme it," Phonte told Darden. "You have to talk about things that you know and I feel if I write something, and you can listen to my album and you can hear yourself in a piece of it, then I've done my job as an artist. My job is to make you feel less alone in the world."

Like most middle-aged recording artists, Phonte knows full well that the Billboard charts are primarily inhabited by the youth. Rather than crafting material foreign to his current worldview in an attempt to position himself as "hip," the Little Brother alum is sticking with the source material he knows best: real life.

In his DJBooth article "GOAT-Worthy: Making the Case for Phonte," writer Andreas Hale cited Phonte's perspective on age and the growth of his content, specifically, as reasons why his music has been able to connect with an older audience on such a deep level: 

"If nothing else, the one thing Phonte has done better than many of his peers over the past 15 years is growing up and reevaluating the circumstances surrounding his own life."   

To age gracefully in hip-hop is akin to drinking a fifth of vodka and then making a free throw shot; it's not impossible, but it's damn hard. (Just ask Eminem.) 

At 39, Phonte seems to have figured out. Who else will join him?

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