Almost a decade ago, the Foreign Exchange began as a side project for Little Brother emcee Phonte Coleman, but it’s shaping up as what he’ll be remembered for someday. In addition to scoring a 2009 Grammy nomination, Foreign Exchange has cracked the Billboard 200 album-sales chart, an impressive feat for any small independent-label operation. “Love in Flying Colors” (Foreign Exchange Music) comes in at No. 115 on the big chart, and No. 12 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart. The album sounds like what you’d hear playing at the world’s coolest after-hours nightspot – 10 tracks of smooth-gliding ambience with Coleman as ringleader and purveyor of positive vibrations. Coleman and his co-leader, Dutch producer Nicolay, present it live with a band Thursday (October 24) at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $20 advance, $25 at the door. See lincolntheatre.com for details.
Speaking of Little Brother alumni, deejay/producer Ninth Wonder will serve as host for this weekend’s “Return of the Legends” shows at Durham Performing Arts Center. Rakim headlines Friday and Bell Biv DeVoe on Saturday, with Pete Rock, Lords of the Underground, EPMD, Brand Nubian and others further down the bill. Tickets are $48.25-$111.25 per night, with discounted two-night packages available. See dpacnc.com for details.