Yet another innovative and integral piece to the larger Chicago music mosaic that seems to be taking a sole leading role as capital of the greater American scene, Fox Valley rapper, vocalist, and producer, Phoelix, is here to send a message with his new album, TEMPO. And that message falls nothing short of the following – Chicago, which can be weighed as a microcosm of the current global scene, is experiencing a revolution of the underdog. It is a city and a creative environment that supports and sustains itself through the constructive discussion, deliberation, and celebration of all its artists willing to work for the betterment of art itself.
TEMPO is the perfect representation of just such an environment and just such a movement, existing as a personally unique creative endeavor that has been harvested from the sounds and inspirations of the people and the city that created the artist in the first place. And with such an honest and individualistic approach to art, TEMPO has come together as one of the most open and vivid displays of creativity to manifest itself in album form thus far in 2018.
Bubbling over with Phoelix’s unique, wavy flow that finds itself seamlessly transitioning in and out of the realms of hip-hop and R&B, the whole album exists somewhere in the grey areas between the two genres while being entirely backed by a summery slew of homegrown electronic production. As is the case with many albums to come out in the last year, TEMPO, and by extension, Phoelix, doesn’t fall into any one category. Instead, it’s an artful and thoughtful project that can and should find its way into the libraries if any fan of hip-hop, R&B, funk, and electronic music.
Part of the album’s genius owes its thanks to its impressive list of collaborators that also call home to the same undefined regions of the music spectrum. Friends and fellow celebrated new-age artists, Smino, Monte Booker, Elton Aura, and Jean Deaux in particular add their unmissable, funky flavors to various tracks on the project, leaving Taranpheono, Ice Cream, and Bag as early standout tracks.
But truthfully, the entire 18-song project is deserving of the attention of all its listeners, because from start to finish, TEMPO, with its heart hewn of soul and soul carved from gold, is an album that will help to define the Chicago music renaissance currently taking place.