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…And Justus For All

Little Brother

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Album Review

So how is it that the usually closely watched Little Brother can sneak out an album without much fanfare? It's not so much the departure of member 9th Wonder or the group's split from major label Atlantic, but the fact that And Justus for All is really a fringe release, a repackaged re-release of the 2007 mixtape that shares its title and was "presented" by Mick Boogie. That explains the transitions from track to track and why the overall flow of the album is ragged. Member Big Pooh has rightfully claimed that the group's mixtapes are very close to being albums themselves, but out of all of them, Boogie's Justus had so many interludes concerning the mixtape game — including the legal battles mixtape man DJ Drama fought — that the transition is difficult and the solid theme is lost. Still, this is prime material dating from the time between The Minstrel Show and Get Back, with plenty of that Little Brother wit. Only 40 seconds in and you're graced with "Yo, give the drummer some/Pipe down, give the plumber some," and less than a minute later they're dissing folks who "got their hands out like the Allstate sign." In between those lines are deep, serious thoughts about how comfortable people aren't mad enough at the injustices of the world, making "Can't Stop Us" a prime example of the yin-yang power of the duo, but there's more than a handful of these highlights with B+ material as filler. Dropped from the original release are some tracks with samples that would have been expensive to clear and in their place are five new cuts, including the standout slice-of-life "Too Late for Us." The free-to-experiment spirit of Phonte's Foreign Exchange project is a heavy influence on a number of cuts and respected producers like DJ Babu, DJ Spinna, Nottz, and Rjd2 supply the beats. The underground original beats this release by a length, but with extra material and all tracks now stripped of Boogie's weird "Commissioner!" drop, hardcore fans will need both editions.

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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…And Justus For All, Little Brother
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