Zo! – …just visiting three (2011) | FREE DOWNLOAD + Full Credits

…just visiting three

**Click the song titles to read the stories behind the making of each**
01. Black Cow featuring Phonte Sy Smith
Lead Vocal by Phonte
Background Vocals by Sy Smith & Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Guitar by Chris Boerner
Trumpet by Stan Graham
Trombone by Andrew Kleindienst
Saxophone by Matt Douglas

02. Let It Go featuring Nicholas Ryan Gant
Lead Vocal by Nicholas Ryan Gant
Background Vocals by Nicholas Ryan Gant & Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!

03. Driving featuring Sy Smith
Lead Vocal by Sy Smith
Background Vocals by Sy Smith & Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Flute by Claudia Hayden

04.Marzipan featuring Eric Roberson & Phonte
Lead Vocal by Eric Roberson
Background Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Guitar by Chris Boerner
Trumpet by Stan Graham

05. Everything She Wants featuring Phonte
All Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!

06. Same Ole Love featuring Jeanne Jolly
Lead Vocal by Jeanne Jolly
Background Vocals by Jeanne Jolly and Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Acoustic Guitar by Chris Boerner
Pedal Steel by Allyn Love

07. Playing Your Game, Baby featuring Anthony David
Lead Vocal by Anthony David
All Instruments by Zo!
Trumpet by Stan Graham
Trombone by Andrew Kleindienst
Saxophone by Matt Douglas

Produced by Zo! and Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC
Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and by Phonte at The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

Additional Recording and Mixing by Chris Boerner at The Burlap Palace, Raleigh, NC
Mastering by Soiree Records
Cover Photography by Keith Estep of Keith Estep Photography

…just visiting three: THE ORIGINALS

01. Black Cow
Written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen
Originally Performed by Steely Dan
From the Album “Aja” (ABC, 1977) 

02. Let It Go
Written by John Lang, Richard Page, and Steve George
Originally Performed by Pages
From the Album “Pages” (Epic, 1978)

03. Driving
Written by Ben Watt
Originally Performed by Everything But The Girl
From the Album “The Language Of Life” (Atlantic, 1990)

04. Marzipan
Written and Originally Performed by Eric Tagg
From the Album “Dreamwalkin'” (EMI, 1982)

05. Everything She Wants
Written by George Michael
Originally Performed by Wham!
From the Album “Make It Big” (CBS, 1985)

06. Same Ole Love
Written by Marilyn McLeod and Darryl K. Roberts
Originally Performed by Anita Baker
From the Album “Rapture” (Elektra, 1986)

07. Playing Your Game, Baby
Written and Originally Performed by Barry White
From the Album “Barry White Sings For Someone You Love” (20th Century, 1977)

© 2011 Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC/The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC

Zo! & Phonte feat. Tigallo the Tay God – “Return Of the Mack”

Zo! & Phonte feat. Tigallo the Tay God

On a breezy Sunday afternoon in North Carolina, me and my brother Zo! took to the studio to clown around and pay homage to one of the greatest late 90’s white people club songs ever.”  -Phonte

There is a reason why you don’t let me and Phonte sit around with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon with access to recording equipment, because we like to do shit on the fly… Why? Because once you’re inspired to record something whether you’re serious or just joking around, there’s only a certain space of time you have to do it before life gets in the way – inspiration, gone.

WELP! Sitting in the studio yesterday with Phonte… kats had their laptops out, surfing that good nigganet…… And the thing that kicked off the clownery was Lil B jams and Lil B videos. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaan?!?!!!?!!????!!!! I thought for a second EMS was gonna have to come to the spot to assist kats with breathing. After laughing about that announcement for a good hour, Mark Morrison’s 1996 joint “Return Of the Mack” then became the topic of discussion. Now, I didn’t like the joint when it was popular… and I mean it was a HUGE record when it dropped and continues to get pretty consistent run to this day. But as we started talking about it… the vocal imitations followed, then the discussion spilled over into de Twittuhs. The next thing you know, Phonte started setting up the vocal mic and I was pulling a chair up to the keyboard. Now, being that I already teach my classes how to play “Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” by the Geto Boys, I was already familiar with how to play it. Simply because…

“Return Of the Mack” = “Games” Chuckii Booker = “Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” Geto Boys = “Hung Up On My Baby” Isaac Hayes + “Genius Of Love” Drums by Tom Tom Club

When I first played it on the piano, we went through the first verse or so in regular speed, but once it hit that hook… We slowed it up on some silly shit just to see how it sounded. We played with the ‘mellowed out’ tempo because with the vocals, it sounded funny as hell… So after going through the joint a couple of times with just vocals and piano, we hit the record button and got to work and got to LAUGHING…. I also captured some of the recording session on video with my laptop’s camera. Now THAT footage?! Lawdheppmehpleeese. We even shot the “cover art” in the MIDDLE of recording takes.

In the original, we talked about how hilarious it was that the adlibs for his hook extended through half of the verse. So we had to make sure we included that aspect in the remake but completely exaggerated… Listening to Phonte record the vocals was straight up classic material. There were more than a few occasions where the ‘stop’ button had to be hit IMMEDIATELY following recording so that we could bust out laughing…

THEN playing off of the Lil B joints from earlier, being stupid, one of us would just break out into a random, simple ass freestyle based on a single topic of choice while the other would hit the “swag..swag..swag..swag..whoo!..swag…swag…” adlibs. THIS shit went on all day long as its comedic value and appeal steadily increased with each passing hour.

And just to let ch’all know, kats DIED LAUGHING throughout the entire recording process, my damn head hurt by the time we actually went on Twitter and posted a link to the actual joint. Glad that y’all could be a part of us cutting up in the studio because this is exactly how it goes  once recording has stopped. Thanks as always for the love and for listening…!!

Free Download from new album "SunStorm": Zo! feat. Sy Smith "Greatest Weapon Of All-Time"

Taken from Foreign Exchange’s Website:

The official single for Zo’s SunStorm album doesn’t drop for a few more weeks, but we at +FE Music decided to give a little something to hold you over until then. Here’s “Greatest Weapon Of All Time” featuring our good friend Sy Smith, also taken from the SunStorm LP which drops 7/27. Thank you for listening, and enjoy!

Well y’all, the six-week plan is now officially underway. Here is first sample of the album that you all have heard me talk so much about. Sy came through and did her THING… I am this close to posting the story behind how this joint came about, but I’ll save it…. Not unless y’all want to read it. Anyway, enjoy this one and thank you for listening.

Me with Sy Smith @ Bohemian Caverns, March 2008

New Joint with Julie Dexter… "Transitions"

As good music fanatic, I’d certainly like to think that I do a fairly good job of keeping my ear to the ground and staying up on quality artists. Soon after I was introduced to Julie Dexter’s music in 2002 by a friend of mine, I ended up purchasing her Dexterity album from Amazon.com… To this day, I have “Faith” and “God Bless the Dub” on my iPod (I may have embarrassed her by showing her this. lol It was all in fun… and respect). So I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a lil hyped up when I received a call from her manager a couple summer ago inquiring about music. Of course I have material ready. Let’s run it…! Some months went by before hearing from him again, but when I did, I received word that Julie had written to one of my joints and was ready to record. She happened to be in town in June, came on by the house with her manager… and we got to work. The music was pulled up, tracked out and ready to be recorded on before she got there……. and only two hours later, we were finished and cracking jokes… well, I was anyway. Talk about EASY to work with… Preparation y’all, it goes a LONG way in the studio. Anyway, glad to finally have this joint out here to share with y’all….. Enjoy.

Zo! – ‘…just visiting too’ + FULL Album Credits



…just visiting too

01. Perfect Angel featuring YahZarah
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Vocals by YahZarah
Vocals Recorded and Mixed By Phonte at the Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

02. Nights Over Egypt featuring Carlitta Durand
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Vocals by Carlitta Durand
Vocal Production by Phonte
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Khrysis at Chopp Shopp Studios, Durham, NC
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

03. Crazy You featuring Sy Smith
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Vocals by Sy Smith
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Grant “G-Nick” Nicholas at Rumbo Studios, Winnteka, CA
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

04. Holding You, Loving You
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

05. My Flame featuring Phonte
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Lead Vocals by Phonte
Background Vocals by Carlitta Durand
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Khrysis at Chopp Shopp Studios, Durham, NC
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

06. Somethin’ Special featuring YahZarah
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Lead Vocals by YahZarah
Background Vocals by Phonte
Handclaps and Fingersnaps by Phonte and YahZarah
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Phonte at The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

07. Highways Of My Life (Parts I & II) featuring Darien Brockington
Produced by Zo!
All Instruments by Zo!
Electric and Acoustic Guitar by Omar Hunter-El
Vocals by Darien Brockington
Backing Vocals (Part II) by Phonte
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Darien Brockington at Chopp Shopp Studios, Durham, NC and by Phonte at The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Music Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

…just visiting too: The Originals

01. Perfect Angel
Written by Stevie Wonder
Originally Performed by Minnie Riperton
From the Album “Perfect Angel” (Capitol Records, 1974)

02. Nights Over Egypt
Written by Cynthia Biggs and Dexter Wansel
Originally Performed by The Jones Girls
From the Album “Get As Much As You Can” (Philadelphia International Records, 1982)

03. Crazy You
Written and Originally Performed by Prince
From the Album “For You” (Warner Bros., 1978)

04. Holding You, Loving You
Written and Originally Performed by Don Blackman
From the Album “Blackman” (GRP Records, 1982)

05. My Flame
Written and Originally Performed by Bobby Caldwell
From the Album “What You Won’t Do For Love” (Sin-Drome, 1978)

06. Somethin’ Special
Written by Rod Temperton
Originally Performed by Quincy Jones; Lead Vocal by Patti Austin
From the Album “The Dude” (A&M, 1980)

07. Highways Of My Life (Parts I & II)
Written by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Ronald Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Rudolph Isley, and Chris Jasper
Originally Performed by The Isley Brothers
From the Album “3+3” (T-Neck, 1973)

Zo! On the New Nicolay Album ‘City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya’

Earlier today, the press release for Nicolay’s new album City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya was made public, which included the tracklisting and cover artwork. I appear on two of the joints with keyboard solos (“Crossing” and “Wake Up In Another Life”)… Check the write-up….


Nicolay – City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya (09.15.09)


Shibuya is the new project from the creative mind of NICOLAY, better known as one half of THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE. The group (which includes rapper/singer Phonte) and their sophomore album Leave It All Behind (TFE/Hard Boiled; Oct. 2008), continues to gain momentum as the duo and their extended family of singers and musicians are currently touring the United States and Canada. Nicolay and Phonte’s countless performances together have added a new level of sophistication to their musical output, resulting in what they consider to be one of their most ambitious projects yet. 

The idea for Shibuya, the second installment in Nicolay’s City Lights series, was conceived after Nicolay’s first visit to Tokyo in November 2006. The experience proved to be life changing for Nicolay, who has studied Japanese culture for most of his adult life. “This amazing place and all of its sounds and colors immediately filled up my senses,” he says. “I felt reinvigorated.” 

Once back home, he started to write and record music with a new-found sense of freedom, laying the groundwork for the albums Time:Line and Leave It All Behind as well a third album; a deeply personal homage to the Tokyo district of Shibuya that illustrates both the grandeur of Japan’s age-old heritage (“Meiji Shrine, “Rain In Ueno Park”, “The Inner Garden”) as well as the hectic city life of one of the world’s busiest metropolitan areas (“Crossing”, “Satellite”, “Bullet Train”). Where City Lights Volume 1 was primarily instrumental, on Shibuya the instrumental pieces are book-ended by several vocal songs written by Phonte and performed by Durham, North Carolina vocalist CARLITTA DURAND, who previously collaborated with Phonte on LITTLE BROTHER’s Getback album (ABB 2007). Also appearing is Foreign Exchange liveband-mate ZO!, who adds his virtuoso keyboard solos to two songs. 

“It truly is like stepping into a different world”, says Nicolay about his trip to the city. “What fascinated me most about Shibuya was the co-existence of ‘old’ and ‘new’ in seemingly perfect harmony. The most advanced technologies and innovations exist next to traditions that are rooted in thousands of years of civilization.” The album’s musical foundation mirrors this hybrid of different ages, combining influences from ’70s jazz, rock and fusion with broken beat, downtempo and electronica to form the lush, genre-bending sound that has become Nicolay’s trademark.


01 Lose Your Way feat. Carlitta Durand
02 Shibuya Station
03 Crossing
04 Rain In Ueno Park
05 Satellite
06 Saturday Night feat. Carlitta Durand
07 A Ride Under The Neon Moon
08 Omotesando
09 Meiji Shrine
10 Shadow Dancing
11 The Inner Garden
12 Bullet Train
13 Wake Up In Another Life
14 Departure
15 Shibuya Epilogue feat. Carlitta Durand

Questlove/The Foreign Exchange/Zo!/Carlitta Durand EXCLUSIVE!

Let’s get down to business immediately… I want to drop something new on y’all today. The night before our vacation to Bermuda a couple weeks ago, Phonte hit me up at about 1am and passed me this joint to play on. He was telling me that Questlove had flipped Prince’s “Take Me With You” and that he and Carlitta Durand also did their own take on the lyrics…. Dope. I sent my parts back, Nicolay finished it up while we were gone and now we have a 5-person collaborative effort in tribute to the living legend himself….

PURPLE FLIP [right click and save to download MP3 file]

Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson– Drums, Samples

Nicolay– Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano

Zo!– Moog synth, additional rhodes

Phonte and Carlitta Durand– Vocals

This is the first in a series of random goodies that we will be periodically dropping off in your mailboxes. (Who loves ya, baby?)

We recorded this over a month ago specifically for a ?uestlove tribute party dedicated to The Purple One himself. Other than passing it off to a few DJ friends who vowed to keep it on some secret squirrel, “bet you aint up on THIS!” status, no one has ever heard it. In the wake of the incredible loss we suffered on June 25 however, this joint took on somewhat of a deeper meaning.

We decided to share it with our fans not only as a token of appreciation, but also as a way of paying respect to one of our last living musical geniuses.

Let’s not wait until tragedy strikes before we show love and gratitude to our heroes, people. Give them their flowers while they live.

This one’s for you, Mr. Nelson. You are loved and appreciated.


One Love,

‘Tay and Nic

Enjoy this one!…

Overdue Process – NOW AVAILABLE!

Happy New Year!!

I hope that everyone had a good time last night bringing in 2009. And since it IS the 1st of the year, that means the time has finally come to fully unveil the Zo! & Asylum 7 album Overdue Process!!!!!

My Chicago people can pick up the album at Dr. Wax Records or Dusty Groove America.

A huge “thank you” goes out to everyone who placed pre-orders earlier this week. I owe all of you an autographed poster, so look out for those. Anyone who orders through this link will also receive an autographed Overdue Process cover art poster as a thank you from A7 and I to you.

ALSO, during the upcoming week…I will be posting blog entries that will break down each song from the album giving you all inside look at how the album was created. I will update it every other day. The first entry is up for viewing now… Enjoy!

In other good news to begin the year, the Zo! & Tigallo Love the 80’s album made Vapors Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Albums of 2008’ list placing at #15. I was also informed a couple weeks ago that our distributor Fat Beats Records has sold out of the album! This means that if you happen to see one in a local store, pick it up because they are no longer being supplied. The Fat Beats store still has some copies actually. Phonte and I really appreciate all the love and song suggestions (lol) we have received over the last 5 months. We are now concentrating on creating on plenty of original material…so please keep your ears open for that.

I wish everyone much success in the new year. Please be safe and thank you, as always for the continued support shown in this direction. Peace!!