“I see n***as slammin’ her and takin’ her to the sewer/But I’ma take her back hoping that this s**t stops/cause who I’m talkin’ bout y’all is Hip-Hop,” are the words Common rails off on his classic underlying love message track “I Used to Love H.E.R.” This cut, like many others is a keen example that the subject of love is the most essential and classic subject spoken on in the culture.

For this week’s column, and in light of it being Valentine’s day this past weekend we decided to highlight The Foreign Exchange and their LP, Leave it All Behind, which is engaged to this simple yet complicated topic of love. So, who better to explain the complication than their vocalist, Phonte, whom we sat down with to give us the inspiration behind the track “All or Nothing/Coming Home To You.”

“First, I got the beat for “All or Nothing”, which Nic sent me and that’s the first one we did for the record. It was just basically talking about how a lot of times in relationships and whatever you will get into fights and s**t and y’all get into something and you’ll swear that that’s the end. Y’all have a fight or whatever and you’ll be like ‘I’m sick of this mother f**ker, it’s a wrap!’ But then like the next day you’ll wake up or whatever and realize that that s**t wasn’t really major. So it’s just basically saying that relationships have their problems and you have your little arguments you get into, and that’s just part of the game and it doesn’t have to be so all or nothing.

It’s not going to be just all one way, if y’all have one fight that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the end of the world. If y’all have a period where everything is good, that doesn’t mean things are not going to eventually get bad or gonna hit a bump in the road. So that’s what it was about.

So then the “Coming Home To You” track was another joint that Nic had did the beat and I really liked the track but I didn’t think it was strong enough. Actually, not strong enough, but I thought it was too similar to the “All or Nothing” beat to stand on it’s own as a song by itself. After awhile I was like “what if we just make it like an interlude, almost like a beat part to “All or Nothing” instead of just making it it’s own song by itself.” So that’s where that idea came in. I wanted it to represent after an argument, after y’all have that argument and you see yourself get to that point where it’s just like, “Aight, I’m about to say something real f**ked up, so let me just pull back and get it together and let me keep it cool.” So, that was what “Coming Home To You” was. That was kind of like a cool down moment where like in the heat of the moment y’all arguing but then you finally cool down and let her know that you can scream, you can holler, you can get mad and do what you want to do but I’m still coming home to you, you’re gonna have to deal with me either way so you might as well start acting right cause a n***a like me ain’t going nowhere. So that’s where that came from.”