Bianca Rodriguez, aka BeMyFiasco, had been releasing music for a few years when her flirty R&B jam "Monday Morning Blues" motivated Phonte to seek her for vocals on what became "Violets," off Robert Glasper's 2016 Miles Davis project Everything's Beautiful. Around the end of the decade and into the next one, the singer/songwriter added luster to Phonte's own "Beverly Hills" and Little Brother's "All in a Day," as well as "Talkin' to Myself," the lead single from Zo! and Tall Black Guy's Abstractions. These and other connections with Phonte built up to Where I Left You. Rodriguez's first album, Where I Left You was executive produced by Phonte and released on his and Nicolay's Foreign Exchange label. She co-wrote everything with Phonte and Zo! the closest collaborators in a lineup of writers, producers, players, and singers that mixes longtime FE affiliates with newer associates. All of the productions place Rodriguez front and center. They make her velvety voice pop, whether she's brushing off an impulsive relationship, moving forward with trepidation, feeling the rush of new flame, or yearning for a distant lover. Ballads such as the pulsing and glimmering "Love Feels" and slowly knocking Darien Brockington duet "Thinkin Bout It" are moving and finely crafted, but it's the songs with the highest beats per minute -- and the set's highest and lowest emotions -- that leave the deepest impressions. "Caramel," smack in the middle, is pure joy, a rippling boogie bliss-out. "Through the Middle" is a stung (and stinging) dismissal that broods in slow motion, launches into zipping synth funk, and decelerates to end this eminently loop-able album in a tranquil state.
Where I Left You Review
by Andy Kellman