Tag Archives: little brother

Music

Phonte ft. Median – Eternally

Two thirds of Little Brother reunite, but is the beat too grating? You decide:

Music

Drake and Phonte?

drake-take-care-marvins-room-music-single

In today’s unpredictable collaboration news, Drake and Phonte (of Little Brother fame) were supposed to team up for a track last year that never materialized. 

You’ve talked a lot about your admiration for Phonte. How come another collaboration with him still hasn’t happened?

With me and Tay, I kinda dropped the ball on a feature he needed me to do, just being 100% honest. I really wanted to do a record with him, and we actually did do a record for my album, and then something happened with the producer and the beat, and it started getting funny so I had to scrap the record. And then he was like, "Well, can you do this feature for me," and at the time I was trying to find my sound and trying to figure out what this album was going to be about, and I kind of let it slip through the cracks. That was my fault, and I do apologize to Phonte for that. But I still want to make it happen; I talked to 9th Wonder about trying to make it happen, we’ll get it eventually. He knows he’s one of the biggest influences on my career.

I guess I’m behind the times, but I had no idea Drizzy loved Phonte that much.  Clearly I’m a huge Tay fan (and yes, I love Rapper Big Pooh too).  It’s big of Drake to admit that he messed up on this one, but hopefully he can find some time to make it up to Phonte. 

[Village Voice via HipHopDX]

Music

Little Brother Release First Single from Last Album

El bee's curtain call

Little Brother has released “Curtain Call,” the first single from their forthcoming and final album, LeftBack.  The track features a rad ’80s sample, embellished with synth drum fills and a smooth bass line.  Lyrically, “Curtain Call” has got to be one of their finest efforts.  It’s littered with the kind of witty punch lines and awesome references (“Not even Clarissa could explain it all”(!)) that make the best hip-hop joints worth re-listening to.  And it shows how far Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte have come as emcees; they’re definitely at the top of their game, and it’s a shame we won’t get to hear them together any longer.

But my favourite part of the track comes at the end, when Phonte passes the torch on to the next generation of Little Brothers*.  Here’s hoping the cats he names, including Tanya Morgan, J Electronica, Wale and others, can fill their shoes.

DOWNLOAD: Little Brother – Curtain Call

(via NahRight)

*And bringing harmony to the universe: the group originally named themselves Little Brother because musically, they thought of themselves as the younger siblings of “Tribe, De La, P.E.”

Music

Little Brother Unveils ‘LeftBack’ Album Art and Tracklist

Little Brother's final album "LeftBack"

Little Brother unveiled today the album art and tracklist of their next, and reportedly last, album. Called LeftBack, the album is set for release on April 20.  According to a press release, the album will “feature production from the likes of Khrysis, Denaun Porter, Zo!, Symbolyc One, J. Bizness and King Karnov, [and] is poised to take listeners on an epic auditory adventure.”  Guest-spotting on the album are Jozeemo, Yahzarah, Chaundon, Bilal, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand and others.  Sounds dope.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of their last album, it’s most definitely a shame to hear that LeftBack will mark the end of Little Brother.  Like Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte made amazing records based around their love of hip-hop.  Dudes weren’t the greatest rappers of all time, but their appreciation and understanding of the culture meant that their music will be listened to for years to come.

Their demise also speaks to the sorry state of contemporary hip-hop.  As a post on PrefixMag.com put it, “It’s sad to see bad timing, poor album sales, and record company mismanagement destroy a group as good as this. It made no sense why their considerable skills never translated into record sales and airplay. If anything, it’s an indictment of the style over substance attitude governing the hip hop mainstream for the last few years. Here’s hoping ‘Te and Pooh’s solo endeavors continue to shine as brightly as Little Brother’s brief but seminal catalog does.”

LeftBack tracklist:

01 Curtain Call
02 Table for Two [ft. Jozeemo & Yahzarah]
03 Tigallo for Dolo
04 Revenge
05 So Cold [ft. Chaundon]
06 Second Chances [ft. Bilal & Darien Brockington]
07 Go Off Go On
08 What We Are [ft. Quiana]
09 After the Party [ft. Carlitta Durand] (S1 and Caleb’s Who Shot JR Ewing Remix)
10 Two Step Blues [ft. Darien Brockington] (Zo‘s Purple Suit With the Matching Gators Remix)
11 Get Enough Pt. 2 [ft. Khrysis]
12 Before the Night Is Over
13 24 [ft. Torae]

Featured Music

Songs that defined the decade!

by Angie B. Freshhip-hop

[Ed: Angie B. Fresh is the host of ‘The Corner‘ on CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria, B.C.  She’s also the newest contributor to 4080 Records!  Read on for her inaugural post: a passionate, articulate survey of the last decade’s best hip-hop.  And if you know what’s good for you, tune in to her show every Friday from 5-6 p.m.]

Being a child of the late 80’s, this past decade has been the first I can remember from start to finish.  And while I can’t speak for my generational peers, I will always feel as though the 00’s belonged to me.  Rolling Stones called it the “decade of lost chances”, Time called it the “decade from hell”, but I look back on the double-zero’s as the decade of my musical awakening.  Thanks to my brother, I was introduced to hip hop in my early teens and its been my passion ever since.  On that note, I’d like to take a quick look back on the music that served as a soundtrack to my life.

In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I picked one song per year.  Consider first that Pitchfork Media‘s feature on the best music of the decade contained 500 songs.  Picking just ten favorites was not an easy task, but here goes!

2000
Common – The Light
For a long time after I heard this Grammy-nominated love song I only had ears for Common.  Produced by the legendary Dilla, this soulful and sensual tribute is uplifting and romantic in the most genuine way.  Common’s well articulated love and respect for his woman had ladies everywhere wishing they were Erykah Badu.  “It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine”

2001
Nas – One Mic
An instant classic from one of the biggest names in rap, One Mic still gives me goose bumps.  The slow and subtle start, the crescendo into his rage-filled declaration of power, no wonder critics called in legendary. Two years ago I took a short road trip with a few fellow heads to watch Nas perform in Vancouver.  Hearing the opening bars to this track live was an experience of almost spiritual proportions.

2002
Talib Kweli – Get By
I can clearly recall the first time I heard this song; 7 years have passed and I still love it. Produced by Kanye West, it became Talib’s biggest hit to date as a result of its commercial appeal.  The beat is deliciously funky with its piano loops, handclaps and Nina Simone samples, while the lyrics are positively righteous: “They need somethin’ to rely on/ We get high on all types of drugs, when all you really need is love, to get by”.

2003
Little Brother – The Listening
9th Wonder’s beat samples Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” while Phonte and Big Pooh lament the fact that no one listens to full albums anymore or pays enough attention to the lyrics.  This is a song about hip hop by hip hop fans.  “I got suspicions your ear’s to the street where we’re whispering/ are you listening?”  I know I was…

2004
Danger Mouse & Jemini – Ghetto Pop Life
Epic beats from one of the most versatile producers in hip hop, nay music, combined with the inventive and energetic flows of a very talented but underrated MC resulted in a near perfect album.  It was hard for me to pick just one track off this album as the whole thing is clever, creative and fun so I opted for the title track.  It’s a real shame that this project was so slept on because the kind of musical chemistry found with this dynamic duo doesn’t come along often.

2005
Zion I – Bird’s Eye View
Zumbi’s lyrics in this ode to hip hop don’t really put it in the same realm as “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, however the sincerity of his unconditional love for the culture is obvious.  And when his poetry is coupled with the beautiful synthy production provided by Amp Live- complete with subtle strings and pretty piano loops, what you get is a deeply soulful tribute.  “She’s my heart, my mind, my spirit and my bones/ She’s the only one I know that would go across the globe/ Meet me in a foreign land, treat me like I’m home”

2006
Lupe Fiasco – Daydreamin’
This was a tricky pick for me because of the commercial success it garnered.  However I truly believe that good music is good music despite who listens to it.  I was late getting into Lupe, but once I did I knew I was hooked.  The master of metaphor, his slippery lyrical prowess is in full effect in this Jill Scott collabo.  The concept is imaginative, the sound is wonderfully jazzy, what more could you ask for?

2007
Blu & Exile – The World Is (Below The Heavens…)
This album came out of nowhere and then proceeded to blow my mind again and again the more I listened to it.  If you were like me you were asking yourself where the heck this kid Blu came from (he was 22 at the time of its release).  Exile has since become one of my favorite producers,  (check last year’s “Radio” if you like instrumentals) and Blu one of my favorite MCs.  Every beat is perfectly matched to its lyrics; every verse is revealingly heartfelt; this is an album I’ll be listening to for years to come.  “Hell is what you choose to call the present/ That’s why you’re going through it/ I just choose to call it stressin’/ To tell you fools the truth, I don’t feel that’s what I’m destined/ So you can call it hell but bro, I’ll just say I’m below the heavens”

2008
Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up
This sophomore release was a long time coming and worth the wait.  Being a Tribe fan, I welcomed that familiar high-pitched voice back into my playlists immediately.  The vibe is mellow and warm at points yet Tip sounds enthusiastic and energetic throughout. With help from the likes of Raphael Saadiq, D’angelo, and Norah Jones, Q-Tip put together a smooth sounding and perfectly timed celebration of life and love; you can’t help but get into the spirit.  Welcome back Tip!

2009
Tanya Morgan – She’s Gone AKA Without You
Hands down my favorite album of the year, Brooklynati had me wishing I could take up residence in this fictional locale and spend my nights watching the “Hardcore Gentlemen” perform their 15 year old hit 15 times (only people who have been to Brooklynati will get that one).  “She’s Gone” has been described by some as our generation’s “I Used To Love H.E.R” (so I like Common okay??) and it’s just one of the many infectious tracks on the album.  Production from Von Pea and Aeon will have you reminiscing about the so-called Golden Era of hip hop when well-cut jazz loops and soulful samples laid the canvas for thoughtful, witty rhymes. This is one you can pop in and listen to front to back and not have to hit that skip button.

Image from: http://media.photobucket.com/image/hip-hop/nycson98/LoveofHipHop-Collage.jpg