When you think of the 757 area or Virginia music in general, you think; great beats, witty lyrics, and dope producers. This is true from the likes of Miss Elliott, The Clipse, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and the list goes on. They inspire the next generations to make great music and become forces in hip hop as well, which is the case for this young talented artist, Phokis.
Phokis is a hip hop artist from Hampton Virginia who debuted his first album, 80s Show, to the world packed with metaphors, stories, hard hitting beats, and creative lyrical content. Phokis states that his “life inspired the album. If it wasn’t for the things seen in Virginia and things experienced, this album wouldn’t be what it is.” Needless to say, there is no filler on this project. Every song seems to have a specific purpose and reason to be there.
Starting with “Kill Switch”, a song sampling a Yo Gotti interview saying “95 percent of rappers aren’t real”, Phokis belts “Welcome y’all to some real ****” and continues to elaborate on how he’s ready to take over and make his presence in the industry. Alcatraz takes a lyrical roller coaster with his longtime friend, Lias Laffeyette, as they showcase their talents over a high powered horn, string, and guitar heavy beat. The title track, “80s Show”, Phokis gets more into lessons learned and reinforces his thoughts on being “the last of a dying breed, realest spitting here” over Dopedreamaz producer Tragic’s production and samples.
The landmark most people make connection with of Hampton is the Hampton Coliseum. The first single released, The Good Book, is shot around the venue in three different scenes as Phokis raps over Tragic’s productions of organs, hard drums, and a sample stating “don’t forget what your good book says”. Phokis explains “The Good Book is basically an unwritten book of hip hop. Telling the truth, maintaining integrity, being creative, inspiring others, and pushing the culture forward”
“It’s Going Down”, also produced by Tragic, is a playful take on meeting a woman and telling her how they could be an item over Tragic’s “My Lady” sample sped up. “Gotta Have A Sit Down” Is a melodic sing along style rap about Phokis remembering friends in the past he wants to make amends with contingent on having a “sit down” to discuss what made them fall out. This is done over a saxophone led, piano casted, and subtle percussion track which gives the listener a blues, jazz, and spoken word vibe.
At the midpoint of this album, you will find the second single, “Do You Love Me”, produced by Tragic. This song has a very catchy hook with Phokis asking what you love about him in a creative, fun, and lyrical sing along way. The sample stems from Toni Braxton’s “How Many Ways” and sped up into sing a long hip hop hit. “All I Know” takes you on a pensive, deep, and one on one experience with some of Phokis’s more personal thoughts on the world and personal experiences in life. He sternly reiterates on the hook “give the life, cause it’s I know. Bar for bar, give them light, cause it’s all I know”.
“Never Gave Up” goes into a guitar heavy, dark string, western sounding hip hop southern beat with Phokis rapping aggressive and witty lyrics elaborating on taking losses but still never giving up. He also goes into many details of his involvement in the 757 with other artists and inspirations he had to create his path. “Taking Control” goes back into Tragic’s classic sample driven orchestra world delivering two metaphor, multi syllable, and creative verses about Virginia talent taking over the music waves.
The final track, “Validation”, makes probably the biggest statement about social media from a hip hop stand point. Phokis creatively gives three stories and three prospectives on validity that people seek and go for on social media and how it affects them positively and negatively over another Tragic production giving that classic finish to an amazing album and story of the Virginia born and bred artist, Phokis.
Conclusively, this album is what you would want to enjoy in a debut; origin, lyrical display, fun catchy songs, and background information on the artist. Phokis captivates all points of interest on this project and states “no matter what I create, this album will always be special because it’s who I am and the world’s first real look at me. Regardless who I become, this is who I came in as and it’ll be fun to look back and see my growth.” This album is truly showing a promising hip hop future and career for Virginia, 757, and the artist known as, Phokis