In Virginia, many legendary talents have emerged and helped add to the wide, diverse, and rapidly growing culture of hip hop; Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Pharrell Williams, and many more. Recently, I came across an astounding artist from Hampton Virginia, Phokis, and his style is a blend of those greats that also hailed from his environment. Listening to the song “Care Bout Me” of his sophomore attempt “Loosies Tape”, it’s clear that he has a plethora of ways to convey his thoughts artistically over a vast variety of beats and styles while still maintaining cultural integrity to his message. Let us take a look into some of Phokis’s work in the past couple years.
“80s Show”, his debut, is a staggering display of lyricism, vivid picture painting with words and creative ideas, and overall amazing production wrapped into one album. His single “The Good Book” shows his brash, bold, and immeasurably confident feelings towards his influence and involvement in the hip-hop industry. There are fun singalong records on the album; “Gotta Have A Sitdown”, “Do You Love Me”, and “It’s Going Down”, but there is always a message with every one of Phokis’s songs. “All I Know” is where Phokis goes into a pensive mode and gives you a perspective on the world through his eyes and reiterates his bond with his listenership chanting, “Not a lie, but the truth, ‘cause it’s all I know”. “Validation” is a huge stand-out track owing to the fact that Phokis elaborates on the mental health of individuals in three different perspectives and how people use different resources to seek validation from audiences.
“Loosies Tape” is moderately straightforward and to the point; showcases your lyrical rapping ability. In its emergence, Phokis opens with “Push Me” with a Thanos sample saying “I know what I must do” and Phokis begins rapping, “How is it possible he could still be dropping two or three projects knocking through all kinds of obstacles” and this sets the tone for the rest of the project. His stand-out performance on “Amaterasu” solidifies his lyrical skill at not only putting words together well but also rapping in multiple styles on one record. The album towards the mid-point takes a deeper dive into Phokis’s mind as he gives you an interrogative base on “Limbic System” towards the world, his thoughts on his home state’s judiciary system on “Virginia Bar”, and a romantic ordinance on a soulful serenade called “Notebook”.
His latest release, “Memories Of An Ex Rapper” has a mix of each energy his predecessor efforts housed. There’s the lyrical ability, production, and creativity along with a new element that makes this project special; time. Phokis takes you through time with his reminiscent opener “I Remember” and he gives you a detailed view on his feelings towards the hip hop industry. “Forgot The Code” follows the brash style of Phokis elaborating “all the blessings I gave them, must have forgotten about the code”. He further goes into time with his record “Letter To My Pop 2009” where he direct raps to his father about their relationship and their growth over the years. This album, In general, feels a lot more mobile and upbeat to the fact that he even has a reggae-style song, “Make Me Luv Ya”, in which he performs the record in a reggae-style rap. Closing his album with “3 Women I Love” he has a sit-down singalong record aimed at his mother, grandmother, and sister further focusing on time and what they’ve been through together in life.
Throughout the years, hip hop has changed and evolved many times forcing artists, producers, media, and companies to evolve with it. In this business, it takes patience, perseverance, talent, and strong networks to survive. I don’t believe there is a lack thereof in this man, Phokis, looking into his past works and observing where he’s headed. Within this journey, the hip hop industry will gain another great talent from the Virginia 757 area that objectively will continue to try and keep the musical trend going of Virginia’s legendary additions to hip hop.
Follow him on Instagram: phokismusic
Official Website: phokismusic.com