Uncertainty for the Hip Hop Underground
“Little Brother is Dead!”. That’s what my friend said as he heard the news that 9th Wonder left the group to pursue solo interests. Did 9th really indeed seal the fate of the group with his departure? Some may say, yes he most certainly did. Throughout the years, Little Brother has gained a large underground contingent due to their soulful sound and dope lyrics; a combination that is hard to find in today’s hip hop world. Now, with the soulful beats of 9th out of the picture, many valid questions arise: Is the duo’s lyrical ability strong enough to carry them to the next phase in their careers, will their backpacking fans adjust to the group’s new sound, and can they afford to pay a new producer to make quality beats for them? Hearing Phonte on The Foreign Exchange and Big Pooh on Sleepers, I think that in terms of ability, the two can stand on their own. However, Little Brother has been known for a long time for having a unique sound. Now that that sound has vanished, they just aren’t the same; there’s nothing to differentiate them from all of the other good underground rappers out there. Lastly, being an underground group with limited funding, they cannot afford to go out and hire the best producers in the biz to lay tracks for them. They will not have the Kanye Wests of The Neptunes but instead, Joe Producer, who will make beats that are not too different from everything else you’re currently hearing on the radio. I am a fan of Little Brother, a large one actually, but I feel like the group is about to go the way of Pete Rock and CL Smooth and leave their fans reminiscing over their careers.