anti-lilly phoniks it's nice outside

A three-year stretch between projects helps Anti-Lilly focus on when it’s nice.

Anti-Lilly came into my head with a smoky baritone and relaxed delivery. “A Million Stories” in 2013 put him in the backseat of a car doing his best to relive Phife Dawg’s rendition, short of reminding people John Starks got ejected. Embracing woozy, swoon-worthy production where horns and brass were his usual became his calling card. In a climate where creating for-fun joint projects between rappers has grown standard, Anti-Lilly has been there before. He’s done it with then Envy Hunter and has made it a mission to work exclusively with his Maine (no Terrence Howard) producer, Phoniks.

The distance between Stories From The Brass Section and the duo’s It’s Nice Outside tape bears almost a similar parallel to Big K.R.I.T. and his KRIT Wuz Here album in 2010. Pained by loss and bouts of depression, K.R.I.T. opened up, discussing love and the fears of losing his leading lady. “Decided she ain’t scared of lions, tigers, and bears. But she scared to be in love with me,” he rapped on “Good Enough.” A large chunk of It’s Nice Outside is dedicated to Anti-Lilly’s old world and his new one. Thoughts of marriage and doing the right thing are within his purview. He just had to shake himself out of the worst funks imaginable to get there.

“Stretches of serious depression combined with the monotony of a 9-to-5 lifestyle, temptations from the streets and betrayal from a close friend forced him into isolation,” he describes the album. A time capsule of the sort, It’s Nice Outside pairs Phoniks tools and Drake Lilly’s fight out of misery and self-imposed exile. Songs like “Grow,” “Brick Buildings” and “Happiness” with Scolla encapsulate what Anti-Lilly’s been fighting for. Shed one lousy relationship, gain a far more significant appreciation for a new one. It’s the way life works.

“This is the only way I know how to get through it,” he says. “I lost my way for a while. Honestly, I’m still tryna figure everything out. I’m learning that we all are, though. I done lost as much as I gained, but it was all necessary.”

Stream It’s Nice Outside, the bulbous, jazz-heavy creation from Anti-Lilly and Phoniks below.