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Getback

Little Brother

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Album Review

It should be an easy story to tell: vaunted rap group loses the producer who made them a quality act, then slowly sinks back into the underground, never to be heard from again. From Get Back, it's clear that Little Brother didn't mind the loss of 9th Wonder and decided to rewrite the script. Not only do Phonte and Pooh sound like nothing has changed, in point of fact they sound more energized and engaged than ever before. They've got more to say and more intriguing ways to say it, including touches like fronting a flashy production worthy of Bad Boy for the anti-materialist "Good Clothes," inviting Lil Wayne for "Breakin My Heart" (where he reliably blows your mind with line after line, like "I don't want a broken heart because I lose the pieces"), and floating an utterly hilarious exposé of late-night hook-ups ("After the Party"). Instead of the usual rap record circa 2007, where dozens of lines go by with no reason to pay particular attention besides technical ability, it's difficult not to hang on every line here from Phonte and Pooh. And for those worried about the production quality with 9th Wonder's departure, it may have actually improved with the work of Illmind and Khrysis, among others (9th Wonder appears once, on the Lil Wayne feature). It's one of the most refreshing hip-hop records of 2007, one where you can rely on rappers to talk intelligently and rap fluidly about important subjects, know what to treat seriously and what to treat humorously, put up great productions, and really care about what they're saying.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Durham, NC

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Part of the new millennium resurgence of alternative rap, Little Brother drew from atypical inspirations for Southern hip-hop: classic Native Tongues outfits like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as more recent torch-bearers like the Roots and Black Star. MCs Phonte (born Phonte Coleman) and Big Pooh (born Thomas Jones) swapped rhymes with an easy chemistry, but the group's real focal point was DJ/producer 9th Wonder (born Pat Douthit), an old-school sampling technician who quickly established...
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Getback, Little Brother
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