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Little Brother

Little Brother performing in Atlanta in March 2008.
Background information
Origin Durham, North Carolina,
United States
Genres Hip hop
Years active 2002 - 2010
Labels ABB, Atlantic
Rapper Big Pooh (2002–2010)
Phonte (2002–2010)
Former members
9th Wonder (2002–2007)

Little Brother is an American hip hop group from Durham, North Carolina that consists of Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh. Producer 9th Wonder was a part of the group since its inception, but left before recording the album Getback. Their debut album The Listening (2003) was highly acclaimed, and was followed by The Chitlin Circuit 1.5 mixtape in 2005 and the group's second album, The Minstrel Show, also released in 2005 and received a "XL" from XXL magazine and 4.5 Mics from The Source. The group tours frequently with their official DJ, Flash. In an interview with, Phonte explained the origins of his group's name: "Tribe, De La, P.E....were like our big brothers in the game so now we are the little brothers of that movement...carrying on the tradition of good music."[1]




Early career

Little Brother formed in Durham, NC at North Carolina Central University in 1998. The group began as a trio, featuring members Phonte (Phonte Coleman), Big Pooh (Thomas Jones), and producer 9th Wonder (Pat Douthit). They are founding members of the North Carolina hip hop collective called The Justus League, under the umbrella music group Hall of Justus.[citation needed]

Their official debut came in August 2001 with their first recording, "Speed". They continued to work the local scene and were picked up by ABB Records. In 2002, they released the cult hit 7" single Atari 2600, with lyrics centering around video games. In 2003, the group released their first full length album, The Listening. This record boosted the group to higher acclaim, but national recognition came when Jay-Z tapped 9th Wonder for the song "Threat", off of his eighth studio album The Black Album.


That fall, they opened for the Hieroglyphics on their Full Circle national tour. Little Brother's second album, The Minstrel Show, saw increased success due to their raised popularity. Its theme compares present day rap music and the music industry to the minstrel shows of the late 1800s.

In 2005, Little Brother became embroiled in a short-lived feud, when Young Jeezy's protege Slick Pulla challenged the group to a battle after hearing an interview in which Phonte voiced some disapproval concerning drug rap and the Young Jeezy's "snowman mascot". Little Brother did not respond, and instead, Phonte called Slick Pulla and the pair resolved the misunderstanding.[citation needed]

Outside of the group, Phonte collaborated with producer Nicolay as the The Foreign Exchange, and Rapper Big Pooh released a solo album entitled Sleepers. 9th Wonder has produced songs for major artists like Jay-Z, De La Soul and Destiny's Child, as well as underground artists such as Sean Price.

In addition, 9th has produced whole albums for Jean Grae (Jeanius), MURS (Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition), Buckshot (Chemistry) and a remix album of Nas' God's Son entitled God's Stepson, and also Wale. He is also working on a second Buckshot/9th album, to be called The Formula.

In late 2006, Little Brother began recording their third album, and second for Atlantic Records, Getback. However, in a drastic turn of events, the group announced in January, 2007 that they would be parting ways with Atlantic[2]. The move from Atlantic was likely due to the commercial failure of The Minstrel Show, and creative differences over their future material. Big Pooh was quoted as saying "We as a group just felt that it was not in our best interest to remain in a situation where our needs were constantly being overlooked. We didn't have an A&R for The Minstrel Show. We don't have any type of relationship with our current A&R. There are just a lot of internal issues that ended up working against us." Their manager Big Dho added that there were no "ill feelings towards their (Atlantic) company."

On October 23, 2007 Little Brother released "Getback," the long awaited follow-up to the Minstrel Show. With no major video or radio airplay, Getback moved about 9,600 copies during its first week in stores and will land at No. 89 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album consists of 11 songs, and features several guests, most notably New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne had been long time fan of the group's work and was invited to spit the third verse for "Breakin My Heart". Little Brother is currently on a promotional tour along with L.A.- based hip hop artist Evidence.

Little Brother is currently working on becoming completely independent artists and putting out records on their own. Big Pooh is quoted as telling L.A. Record in an April 2008 interview that "For the next record, we definitely want ownership—the first record we’ll have 100% ownership of."[3]

...and Justus For All

After releasing "Getback" Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh decided to officially release their 2007 mixtape "...and Justus For All" This time it will be released through Hall of Justus and they will have 100% ownership of the project. "We decided to officially release And Justus For All for the fans. Since all of our mixtapes are more like actual albums, many people have been requesting us for deejay free versions of these mixtapes. So to all of the fans out there that's been asking for it, you're welcome," Rapper Big Pooh told HipHopDX. "...and Justus For All will feature 5 new songs as well as enhanced mastered versions of songs on their 2007 mixtape with DJ Mick Boogie. The Cd Version will have 5 New songs for the album and the iTunes version will have 7 new songs. The iTunes version will link former groupmate 9th Wonder with the group with "Black Light Special". Now slated as an official album it is scheduled for release on June 10, 2008.


Phonte and Big Pooh are scheduled to release about 5 albums in 2008 but only one as Little Brother (And Justus for All). Phonte Plans to release the follow-up to his album with Nicolay as "The Foreign Exchange" titled "Leave It All Behind". Phonte then plans to release an album of 80's covers with Detroit Producer Zo! Titled "Zo! & Tigallo Love The 80's".

Rapper Big Pooh is planning his second solo album "Dirty Pretty Things" due in fall 2008. He is also planning an album with another Detroit based producer Young RJ with their collaboration "The Recipe". Then, Big Pooh is planning a mixtape with DJ Mick Boogie in promotion of "Dirty Pretty Things". The mixtape is still untitiled but Pooh held a contest on his myspace page for his fans to name the project. Then he plans to record an album with Virginia producer Nottz Called "Home Sweet Home" sometime in late 2008 or early 2009.

Future of Little Brother

During a May 2008 interview with, Rapper Big Pooh hinted that he and Phonte may never record another album together. "That's so far in the future. We don't know if we are even gonna do another Little Brother album at this point. We are working on our personal projects right now.[4] After this report, Phonte did announce another album--Leftback--but he also announced that the group would subsequently take a Black Star-esque hiatus, wherein he and Big Pooh will collaborate, but another group album will not be released for a long while[5]. Recently, former group member 9th Wonder mentioned through his Twitter that "A Little Brother album doesn't sound like a bad idea these days man, people are leaving, you just don't know..", stemming from the passing of the former member of Slum Village Baatin. Most recently, Rapper Big Pooh posted a bulletin via Myspace stating that he, along with 9th Wonder and Phonte, are no longer doing features as a group, but that he was still available to do solo features as himself. In the same post, he also mentioned that Leftback was near the end of the completion process.



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