With a new album scheduled to hit stores this Tuesday, it’s only fitting that we show love to North Carolina’s own Little Brother. Comprised of rapper/singer/songwriter Phonte, Rapper Big Pooh, and producer 9th Wonder (who is no longer a member of the group), Little Brother is one of the most under-rated collectives in hip hop. Their debut, The Listening, was as close to classic as you can get. Especially from a group of then unknown rappers from the South. Conceptually, it played from top to bottom like a hip hop radio show – WJLR, Justice League Radio. Dope beats. Dope rhymes. What more could ya’ll want?
For their second release, The Minstrel Show (2005), they moved from the radio to the television. This album, released on Atlantic, was their first major label release. Much like on their debut, the Brothers provided us with what most artists, group or solo, had abandoned long ago: a concept. And although it didn’t get the commercial success or respect that it deserved (most great music never does), hardcore LB fans were definitely tuned in to the Show.
Along with their third studio album, The Getback (2007), they have several mixtapes and multiple side projects (including one of my favorites right now – The Foreign Exchange) that are more than worth a listen. Make sure you stop by your local cd store…I mean log on to iTunes…and pick up that new album, Leftback, on Tuesday! In the meantime, enjoy these gems:
The Yo Yo from The Listening
Atari 2600 from an early release of The Listening
Speed from The Listening