Phonte Schools Us As Imam Ali In ‘The Breaks’ Freestyle


Last night we huddled around our televisions to watch VH1’s original scripted drama The BreaksThe film, set in 1990, details rap’s golden age and while we enjoyed the acting from Mack WildsAfton WilliamsonDavid Call, Antoine HarrisWood Harris and Method Man, we were in it for the music. If you caught the movie, you heard production from DJ Premier and you also got a glimpse of our good friend Phonte Coleman, who served as the film’s lyrical consultant, writing every rhyme you heard in the movie, including his own freestyle.

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Decked in a dashiki and kufi, Phonte played the Hotep-inspired rapper Imam Ali, who chooses to educate and spit hot knowledge instead of hot fire during a rap battle. “Ain’t even finish with my intro yet / But I’m gonna school you in the spirit of Imhotep / Introspect, police wanna kill for sport / But y’all still wanna eat the filthy pork,” he raps. Phonte perfectly flexed his lyrical chops in the scene, which fit perfectly into the film and made the battle hilarious as he invoked the spirit of rappers who indeed do show up to battles with incense and ankhs.

Watching the movie, we appreciated the blast from the past as the whole crew took care to stay true to minor details from the era. We side-eyed a few hairstyles and chuckled at the endless shade thrown at MC Hammer (and the imperial read he clapped back with on Twitter). The Breaks was a fun watch, and we’re waiting to see if a series comes out of the movie, which we’re sure will get a few replays throughout the month. Listen to Phonte’s complete freestyle below and let us know if he stayed true to his Hotep character or if it was too Faux-tep for your taste. As an added bonus, we also included Phonte breaking down his lyrics and his Imam Ali character in a WatchLOUD interview. For more about the film, visit .

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