Like many Hip Hop outfits, Little Brother is part of a larger collective that releases music under a variety of banners. Little Brother’s three original members, Phonte Coleman, Thomas Jones and Pat Douthit (Phonte, Big Pooh and 9th Wonder, respectively), assembled a decade ago as students at North Carolina Central University, first forming the Justus League collective and then the Little Brother group under the JL/Hall of Justice umbrella.
Little Brother officially debuted with 2001’s “Speed,” which led to their ABB Records contract and their acclaimed 2002 cult single, “Atari 2600,” and 2003 full length, The Listening. The album gave Little Brother national exposure as well as opportunity; Jay-Z secured producer 9th Wonder to work the track “Threat” for The Black Album. All this attention attracted the majors and Little Brother inked with Atlantic, which released the group’s sophomore album, The Minstrel Show, a conceptual tour de force but less than successful commercially.
The group ultimately broke ties with Atlantic, returning to their own Hall of Justus label for their third album, Getback (which featured LB fan Lil Wayne on the track “Breakin’ My Heart”). Before they hit the studio, though, Phonte and Big Pooh announced that 9th Wonder would be checking out of Little Brother (his production résumé has expanded exponentially, with work for Jean Grae, MURS, Buckshot and Nas).
Down to a duo, Little Brother pumps out a sound with a foundation of classic Motown Soul/Pop and deep Funk with an Alt.Rock attitude and flawless mic skills in the service of provocatively thoughtful lyrics. In addition to recent solo albums, Little Brother’s most recent release is the mixtape ...And Justus For All, although there have been rumblings that this might be the last Little Brother collaboration.
Last chance to see Phonte and Big Pooh together? I’m just sayin’ …