Los Angles via New England rapper Lyric Jones released a new album, Closer Than They Appear, which was executive produced by Phonte of Little Brother and features Little Brother, Vic Mensa, Phil Beaudreau, and Sy Smith, alongside production from Phil, Nottz, Nameless (who released the collaborative Ga$ Money with Lyric in 2019), and more. Like Little Brother's own music, Lyric Jones' new album combines soulful production and bulletproof bars in a throwback-yet-timeless way, and if you're usually into that kinda thing, definitely check this album out. Lyric spoke to VIBE about how Phonte got involved:

I've always been a fan of Little Brother, particularly Phonte, throughout his solo career, from the beginning. I was super young, in high school, when Little Brother came out, and then [when I was in] college was where he really came into the Foregin Exchange and his own solo stuff, so I was just very inspired. I had confidence in kind of being myself when I saw him in his career-path because he would sing and he would rap and he would curate and put all types of different people on projects that I would know about already that was bubbling.

[...] Since I was younger, when I first started making music, I never really had anybody pick apart a bar and kind of go, 'Hey, this reference is good, but it's not landing the way I think you're trying to land it, so rework that.' Or, 'I see this double entendre, I see this metaphor, but I have to ask you about it, so try that again,' you know? That was a good challenge 'cause I got so used to everybody just saying, 'You're dope, you're dope, bars only.' But having my favorite rapper really dig into the bars [on] a couple of these songs, it's like I expected it, but when it happened, it's just like, 'Oh...Damn, OK.' So that was a good challenge. And his role was executive producer, so he A&R'ed, he arranged the songs. I brought some tracks to the table that he liked, which was good so, he would give the yay or nay on all the tracks, what order we put it in, the personnel that was on the records, So he oversaw, and that was the first time that's ever happened for me, too. I'm usually in the driver's seat with everything, all of my music, every aspect of my career, so that was also a challenge.

She also touched on how Vic Mensa got involved with "Show You How":

Phonte originally was supposed to be on the rap part and Phonte was just like, 'You know, what we're talking about and how you're talking, I don't know if that's the message that we're trying to come across. I'm the executive producer, this topic-matter, I just think we should find somebody closer to your age, a young dude that can vibe in both worlds just like you.'

And we ran through a couple of names, but I had mentioned Vic Mensa. He just crossed my mind. I remember him on Kaytranada and just a whole lot of different things where he's a chameleon just like me, and Phonte was like, 'I like the idea of Vic on, let me see what I can do, let me reach out.' He did and Vic sent that back, like, asap.

Read more at VIBE.

Stream the new album and watch a few videos below...


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