Link: Atlantic Record’s Little Brother home page
The Inside Pulse: Hailing from North Carolina, Phonte, Big Pooh, and 9th Wonder, aka Little Brother, have been some of the hottest guys in the underground for a while now. Betweeen their debut The Listening, Phonte’s Foreign Exchange collabo with Dutch beatmaker Nicolay, and 9th Wonder’s production work for artists like Jay-Z and Destiny’s Child, the buzz surrounding this trio has been huge. Now they drop their major-label debut, The Minstrel Show. Can it live up to the hype?
Positives: The album is filled with laid-back grooves and witty, intelligent lyrics. On “Beautiful Morning”, the album’s opening track, Phonte talks about their struggle to maintain their integrity:
The way I almost broke down and, got a 9 to 5/
Cause I had more press than the soundscans/
This is the price that I pay for this music/
And every word that I write is a testament to it/
And if I had to go back, I wouldn’t change a thing/
Wouldn’t re-cut it, re-edit, or change a frame
“Lovin’ It”, the album’s first single, finds Phonte and Big Pooh joined by Justus Leaguer Joe Scudda as they challenge other rappers to step their games up. “All For You” finds ‘Te and Pooh reminiscing about fathers and fatherhood. “Cheatin'”, with Percy Miracle, is a hilarious takeoff of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in a Closet”. “Not Enough” chronicles the hard work they’ve put in to get where they’re at. And other rappers should take note, as this album shows how you should do skits. There’s not a bad track on the album.
Negatives: There really aren’t any. This is a lean, tight album, with no wasted space or filler.
Cross-breed: Classic Native Tongues with an R&B groove.
Reason to buy: Because you need to repent for paying good cash for those 50 Cent and G-Unit CD’s.