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Here’s a quite pleasant 5-song hip hop EP that differs quite a bit from what can normally be heard on MTV. Phoenix and the Shadow lay down excellent vocals/raps done by a female and a male, while having a real live-band playing in the back-ground, which should make for a pleasant listen live instead of all the play-back hip hop groups filling the scene up right now. Anyways, Phoenix and the Shadow are quite good at this, and especially the song “When I Am Drunk” shows potential. What was most surprising about this song, however, was the fact that there weren’t used words like ho or bitch in the song. Instead it went like this: “When I’m drunk all you women look fine, when I am drunk all you girls look fine. And later when there’s a reference about scoring, the word chick is used instead of the aforementioned ones. Not typical hip hop, wouldn’t you agree?

- Hans J. Eidisgard MUSIC REVIEW FROM:

This male-female hip-hop duo from Brooklyn puts a neat twist on the genre. Rhymes are rapped and sung softly (he in a dancehall fashion, she in a no-nonsense Queen Latifah style) over drum n' bass and electronic dub. The drum n' bass gives them a dark and intimate feel. - Adam Liebling

This EP came to me literally out of the blue, as did the complementary TROJAN prophylactic for use when you're drunk, which will have its uses. The Brooklyn based Phoenix & the Shadow are male/female duo VOODO FE' and TARON, backed by a live band. Phoenix & the Shadow have brought out their EP "Different They Think" bringing together a number of influences such as reggae, drum & bass, and rock to give a quality piece of alternate hip-hop they have dubbed the "Trippy-Star" sound. Now don't ask me what that means, because well... I don't have a clue.
What I do know is that this has the potential to find a place in any hip-hop heads collection. Phoenix & the Shadow have that knack of grabbing things from life twisting it and making it into a great tune, whether that be about sex, being drunk or whatever people do in NY.
The five track EP starts with "Hear Me" reminiscent of Souls of Mischief, relying on a groovy b-line, fast drums and machine-gun lyrics, but with a nice riddim' and a definite booty shakin' feel. The next track "Existence" is the best track on the EP. Kicking off with just the bass line, giving it a Dead Prez "Hip-Hop" feel, followed with the catchy hook and tight beats. Taron's verse is really tight, and this is where it hits home this is a real crowd mover. Voodo's verse is a raga style, which definitely works with the rhythm of the snare. Track 3 is right out of the Alkoholik's repertoire. "When Iím drunk" has some sweet lyrics, a nice feel, and the hook, "when I'm drunk, all of you women look good" just makes it all the better. Something to shout out when you're drunk... Again Taron & Voodo deliver the goods Lik style.
"Sex" is a song about someone's first time, something we all can relate to (I hope?!?). Its downtempo, and a little chilled compared with the earlier tracks, with an eerie Spooks feel to it, and some cool lines. It has all I like about sex, its sweet and tight! The final track is a real shouty punk, rock hip-hop fusion, broken up only by Tarons vocals giving us a break from the thrash-rock shouting. A strange end to the EP, but I guess it goes down well in a live gig, peoples would not stand still.
Overall a good insight to the non-commercial Yankee ish, its original and impressive, something not usually associated with US hip-hop. Phoenix & the Shadow are definitely worth looking out for, having toured with Run DMC, & Naughty by Nature amongst others. Definitely one to get you away from the UK scene, and into some different styles...and I defy you not to nod ya head at this EP.
- Mr. Lingo

Genre-defying feats are hard to come by in the ever-narrowing hip hop offerings these days. Thankfully, the musical influences in PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW'S "Different They Think" read like a list of the sections at your favorite dj record store. Buzzy drum&bass-ish synth basslines snake their way through dirtysouth crunk- funk beats, and dubbed out guitar licks and dancehall style vocal hooks all converge to form a backdrop for hard-edged hip hop lyrics. Notably, P.A.T.S. is a co-ed duo, another hiphop anomaly, which they work to their benefit in a heavily hormonal dialogue. Song topics range from a first sexual experience ("Sex") to the beer-goggle effect ("When I'm Drunk"). "Push Push" is a standout, with it's native- tongue inflected track. But its playful daisy age vibe doesn't really seem to belong on this more Outkast-flavored release. Overall, a solid first effort, "Different They Think" falls short of brilliant, but shines in it's open-mindedness, diversity, and honesty ... which is different, I think. - DJ SCRIBE

An eclectic mix of trip hop, reggae, rap and drum n’ bass makes Brooklyn’s Phoenix and the Shadow a truly unique listen for which words could really do no justice. Their song "EXISTENCE" is typically unpredictable, opening with a warm, fuzzy bass line that kicks into a hyped up drum track, over which the group’s lyrics, both rapped and sung, simply float. - KEITH DENERSTEIN

Maybe once a year a record hits your mailbox out of the blue that completely knocks you on your ass. This EP by Brooklyn's PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW (lyricists Voodo FE' and Taron Benson) is that record, imbued with undeniable old-school vibes and refreshing next-school vision. Comprised of nine tracks (plus an excellent remix of "WHEN I'M DRUNK"), each cut displays such range and skill that it brings a smile to your face. Voodo Fe' is less serious but not frivolous, usually working in a flow that mixes Busta Rhyme with either Red Rat or Beenie Man, killing it equally, fast or slow. Benson is one of the dopest and strongest female MC's out there, right alone with Rah Digga, old-school Latifah and Lyte. Recommended cuts: the drum 'n' bass deepness of "GET EM"; the funny recollections of "SEX"; the fast, kinetic "WE DO" and the cool sexy groover "PUSH PUSH" - BRIAN COLEMAN

There's a new sound emerging out of Brooklyn. If you are a New Yorker, then you
know that the music scene here is at a cross-road. New artists and groups are not just
expanding the horizon of their musical styles; they are straight up re-inventing the
music scene. Gone are the boundaries that once locked up music. Today's artist freely
merges and experiments with all genres, looking to craft something totally unique.
Several are trying to make this happen. One that has succeeded is "PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW," a group that you will be hearing much more of in the future. Taron Benson and Voodo Fe' Mathelier are the leads in the dynamic Brooklyn band. After representing lovely with an east coast college tour where they opened for groups such as Run DMC, Naughty by Nature and Me shell Ndegeocello, the two have now begun the next movement to bring the world a fresh sound, blending styles of hip-hop, Drum&Bass and Caribbean flavors.

“PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW” come off like some futuristic Bonnie & Clyde, running through the competition with their dark, sexy style.  As I listened to their CD, it was raining slightly outside, and I had some sandalwood incense burning, to break up the stale air.  As soon as the CD started, it seemed as if the room was waiting for its theme music to start, so that it could come alive.  Really though, this is some seriously cool shit!  The first track “Get ‘Em” hit the walls like a wrecking ball, swinging its hard acid synth lines up against the hyped up percussion tracks and tearing down anything in its way.  Taron and Voodoo begin to warn all the party people that when their in the spot, you better check your partner, because they just might “Get Em”!  But it was the next track that did it.  “Existence” slinks up with its warm, fuzzy, muted guitar lines and then BOOM, Taron comes through with the floating chorus.  This is like some funk-rock new millennium slow jam for you mind!  Next is the super slick “Push Push” a song about a simple train ride that turns into a sexy scene.  If only every N train ride was so satisfying. The last track is another example of Phoenix and the Shadow rocking their “Trippy Star” style on “You Don’t Hear Me Though” with the ill stuttering hats, flipping back and forth in the track while Taron and Voodo drop science that goes unheard.   This is one of the coolest CDs out. - Laron




• Has been added to over 100 college radio stations
nationwide, Charted in the top ten on 26 of those radio stations


• Sold 5,000 Independently




In early 2002, DARK THEORY members TARON BENSON and VOODO FE' MATHELIER developed an alternative hip hop project called PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW that uses the aggressive drum patterns of Drum&Bass and the Caribbean undertones of Reggae to create what they describe as the "TRIPPY STAR" sound. This Brooklyn based duo has the songwriting ability to turn common life situations into clever, creative songs. This is seen in their song "PUSH PUSH" where they're able to turn a simple train ride into a sexual episode, and again in their song "SEX," a song about a person's first time. Their trademark writing approach of using topics of everyday situations that everyone can easily connect with has opened their markets allowing them to reach a more versatile audience.

VOODO FE' LEON MATHELIER is 6 foot tall, muscular built, purple weirdo. He once had he's elbow pierced... YES, I SAID PIERCED! He has stuck a pencil through both of his earlobe to stretch them out. He has over 16 piercing including both NIPPLES and PENIS. But as odd as he may sound, this modern day renaissance man maintains a high level of talent. As a Songwriter, Producer and Performer and his partner, Taron Upshitz has released DIFFERENT THEY THINK independently which charted #32 on the CMJ CHART. Voode Fe' has also produced and appeared tracks for JANE DOE, an EMI RECORDS recoding artist, and has worked with ANTIPOP CONSORTIUM's High Priest a WARP RECORDS recording artist. Voodo, who also paints, finds old doors in the streets and paints abstract faces, with eyes that glow in the dark. As a fashion designer, he's designed the uniform for the NEW JERSEY NETS. He has designed the boxer shorts, robe and corner man jackets for EVANDER HOLYFIELD in his fight against MIKE TYSON (yes...the infamous one where HOLYFIELD was mauled). He has also designed for NEW YORK GIANT'S LINEBACKER GREAT CARL BANKS. He designs for G-UNIT & ECKO and has designed for popular urban lines such as Avirex, Damimi Dada and Davoucci. As an entertainer, Voodo brings on stage an intense energy that bleeds the soul of a fighter. He has lost both parents, have had numerous surgery on both knees, surgery for an infection in his nose that blocked him from breathing and has lost a large portion of his sense of smell and an on going fight with asthma, but through all this Voodo will not let any of them get in his way. He's a fighter

TARON UPSHITZ has a careful, observant, relaxed nature to go with a god given natural beauty. She's had to deal with bitter experiences that some how have not affected her kind ways. She has a deep appreciation for the small things in her life, but likes to experience the finer things that life also has to offer. She has made music her mate, adding, "to me, music is better than sex...". Deeply independent, Taron will get what she wants, the way she wants it through extreme perseverance, determination and without conformity. Her passions include animals, especially dogs, and plants. She has long range business plans of owning her own horticulture business and music lounge. She is also an actress appearing in independent films & music videos. As an artist, her first love was poetry. Here, she was able to release much of the disappointments she's been forced to deal with. Her poems expressed a side of her that once existed under silent oppression. As her confidence grew in her writing, so did the yearn to grow as an artist. This desire gave way to new opportunity in the music industry. She has mastered her trademark lyrical flow with a smooth, sexual delivery. Taron Benson has earned the respect of her audience and is one of the best female performers in the industry.