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9 December, 2004@12:00 am

     You’ve heard the name before, and though you might not know exactly where, Phil The Agony has been around. From guest appearing on albums from Dilated Peoples, Xzibit, Defari and being a part of the Strong Arm Steady crew, Phil has paid his dues, and now hopes to be listed among his peers with his GoodVibe debut, The Aromatic Album.

    With a production team that includes the likes of Hi-Tek and DJ Khalil, you know that Phil means business.  Opening with his abrasive flow on “The
Opera”, Phil the Agony reintroduces all to the style that helped him make a name for himself. From there, Hi-Tek helps Phil out with the windows down, full volume vibes of “Summertime”, which sounds a little reminiscent of De La Soul’s “Baby Phat”, but still works. DJ Khalil pumps the energy up to 10 with his contribution, “Promises”, where a sped up vocal sample rocks in between a thumping bassline, as Phil swerves in and out of the headrocking track. Khalil showcases his production throughout on joints like “I Can’t Believe” featuring Xzibit and Krondon, and “For The City” featuring Talib Kweli. Phil shines when his rock solid flow is put on full display, like when rocking alongside Xzibit and Krondon on “I Can’t Believe”, which shows that he has a lot of potential. “Everything” allows Phil to illustrate his ability to ride a beat, and while “Promises” may easily be Phil’s most solid joint, he leaves much to be desired as far content. 

    Where the problems lie is when Phil employs a little too much time to his guests. Talib Kweli completely snatches the spotlight from Phil on “For The City”, Raekwon rocks the hell out of “Thousand Words”, and Planet Asia glows on “Pat Jenkins”. While The Aeromatic Album may sound good, the listener never really gets to know Phil the Agony as a person. When Phil does take the mic on a solo mission he falls a little short as opposed to the spots with guests. “Long Time Ago” serves as another solid Phil joint, but nothing insightful to make the listener think there is more to Phil than what you may have heard in the past. 

    The Aromatic Album is an introduction to Phil that may have many listeners clamoring for more. Not because they feel like Phil gave his all, but more like he didn’t give them enough. For future releases, more songs like “Everything”and “The Opera” are necessary in order for Phil to take his place amongst the west coast’s elite. Unfortunately, The Aromatic Album is too much bread not enough meat, but Phil will still proves to be a force to be reckoned with as time goes on.  

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