Our new favorite artist, Pheonix, and how he’s changing the world

     It isn’t often you hear a hip-hop song with as many infused genres as you will while listening to one of Pheonix’s latest releases, “Best Girl”. 

     Hip-hop music is one of the most defining genres to utilize in order to spread a message, to share stories, to be vulnerable as well as to never be vulnerable, but most importantly, to maintain a “flow”, a “rhythm”, and lastly, momentum.

     The song begins with a dynamic intro leading to an anthem-like verse. The product of Pheonix and his defining production can be heard in the 6 harmonious vocal parts that open the verse. Pheonix stated that, “I always remember listening to The Beach Boys, but more specifically, I fell in love with Brian Wilson’s concept of utilizing multiple instruments for one sound and/or melody. You can have an organ, a piano, a flute, and a Tuba play the same melody line, record them, and mix them as one new instrument with all the sounds as one. Brian and others like Phil Spector referred to the phenomenon as a ‘Wall of Sound’”.

      When approaching the approximate 30-second-marker, there is no indication that the song is progressing in a hip-hop sounding direction, but rather one that feels more alternative or even pop-based. However, we’re in an era where younger artists like Pheonix are molding what the genre’s tone and texture will be for the next decade, and Pheonix spares no time to take advantage of doing so. At that same time-marker where you feel you’re being misled is when the modern-production hits, is when the hi-hat drills hit, and ironically when the guitars hit. We felt confused in the best way upon our first listen as it’s genuinely pop-sounding hip-hop verses, pop-punk choruses, and a blend of both for parts like the pre-chorus and bridge.

      We asked Pheonix if there was a foundation or recipe he used while making the song and he remarked that, “I come from an alternative background, but I’ve never liked the idea of being stuck to one sound. I think an artist’s or band’s easiest way to be successful is to be innovative, but I also think artists and bands can fall off the charts just as fast as they show up once the hype dies. That’s the goal, create a piece of art that lives longer than the hype.” Currently, “Best Girl” is charting in the Top 100 in more than 5 countries.

      To continue, lyricism isn’t anything to take lightly with Pheonix nor does he himself. He’s developed a style that he calls “rap singing”, which he explained as, “writing lyrics that have more rhyme schemes and intricate timings” as opposed to what you’d hear in most pop-based genres like the current pop climate, rock music, and so on. He stated that, “I feel some artists get lazy with lyrics and it can really bottleneck what you’re making. Some artists will just hold the end of the line longer to make it fit, some artists consistently stick to similar themes or timings for delivering the lines, and all of it gets boring. The reason why so many top artists remained relevant for so many decades is due to their ability to keep their message, their art, and their music fresh and exciting.” We followed up to his reply by asking if he had any artists in mind for ones that were and aren’t innovative and his reply was, “The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Dr. Dre, NWA, Eminem, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, Post Malone, and Snoop Dogg for innovative, but I think a lot of modern artists now are just hype. Especially in hip-hop, there’s hype artists every year that fall off into the void of the unknown. I think artists like 6ix9ine, Lil Xan, Lil Pump, The Game, Xzibit, Lil Skies, Macklemore and more are good examples of artists that lost that hype and failed to either maintain or revive it.”

        As we were finishing up our interview, some of us really wanted to know who “Best Girl” really is and what it means to be, “Best Girl”. The answer we received was just as exciting as it was confusing with Pheonix saying, “Best Girl is a character partially based on a real person, but more so acts like a character for the album I’m producing and writing. I wanted the project to really follow a story as well as a narrative if the album alone is genre-hopping. I felt it could help listeners understand how it develops and connects to each song.”

     “Best Girl” and Pheonix continue to climb up the charts with the song’s peak position being number nine in the country as of writing this piece. We look forward to hearing more from Pheonix as well as the next articles we’ll end up releasing following the curation of that concept album.

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