Little Brother was an American alternative hip hop group from Durham,
North Carolina that consisted of rappers Phonte and Rapper Big
Pooh (from 2001 to 2010), and DJ/producer 9th Wonder (from 2001
to 2007). The group produced four acclaimed studio albums and six
mixtapes, during the group's 9-year existence.
The group was highly regarded among fans and critics, and was, arguably,
the most prominent underground rap group to emerge in the first decade
of the 21st century.
The individual members of the group, rappers Phonte (Phonte Coleman),
and Rapper Big Pooh (Thomas Jones), and DJ/producer 9th Wonder (Pat
Douthit), met in 1998 while enrolled as college students at North
Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. The group
began as a trio. Little Brother were members of the North Carolina-based
alternative hip hop collective, The Justus League.
In a February 2003 interview with MVRemix.com, Phonte explained
the origins of the group's name: ‹The template Cquote is being
considered for deletion.›
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.”
The official debut for Little Brother came in August 2001 with their
first recording, "Speed".
They continued to work the local, Raleigh-Durham-area scene and
were eventually signed by independent record label 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 studio album,
The Listening to critical acclaim and widespread recognition from
alternative hip hop aficionados. National recognition for the group,
and particularly, 9th Wonder, came when Jay-Z tapped 9th Wonder for
the song "Threat", from his eighth studio album The Black
Following the release of The Listening, Little Brother opened for
Oakland-based alternative hip hop collective Hieroglyphics on the
latter's Full Circle national tour.
 The Minstrel Show album
Little Brother's second album, The Minstrel Show, released in September
2005, saw increased success for the group due to their raised popularity
and praise for the album from critics. The album's theme compared
present day rap music and the music industry to the minstrel shows
of the late 19th century.
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 Young Jeezy's "snowman mascot".
Little Brother did not respond, and instead, Phonte called Slick
Pulla and the pair resolved the misunderstanding.
 Getback album and 9th Wonder's departure
In late 2006, Little Brother began recording their third album,
and second for Atlantic Records, Getback. However, in January 2007,
to the surprise of many, the group announced both their departure
from Atlantic and that producer 9th Wonder had left the group.
The move from Atlantic was due to the commercial failure of The
Minstrel Show, and creative differences over the group's future material.
Rapper Big Pooh said: ‹The template Cquote is being considered
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. ”
The group's manager Big Dho added that there were no "ill feelings
towards their (Atlantic) company." 
The group's reason for the break from Atlantic and for 9th Wonder's
departure was ultimately due to creative differences, but in both
cases, the break and departure were described as amicable.
As to 9th Wonder's departure from the group, Rapper Big Pooh was
quoted as saying:
‹The template Cquote is being considered for deletion.›
Little Brother has decided, in the best interest of the group, for
Little Brother and 9th Wonder to part ways. There are no hard feelings
and no beef. This is just a decision that had to be made so all three
of us could move forward and continue to provide the world with dope
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 sold approximately 9,600 copies during its first week in
stores and landed at No. 89 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album
consisted of 11 songs, and featured several guests, most notably
New Orleans-based rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne had been a long time
fan of the group's work and was invited to rap on the third verse
for "Breakin My Heart".
Following the release of Getback in late 2007, Little Brother toured
with Los Angeles-based altnernative hip hop artist Evidence of Dilated
The remainder of 2007 found Little Brother working on becoming completely
independent artists and putting out records on their own. Big Pooh
told 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." 
 ...And Justus For All mixtape
Following the release of Getback, in mid-2008, Little Brother officially
released their 2007 mixtape ...And Justus For All with DJ Mick Boogie
taking over production duties for the departed 9th Wonder. The mixtape
was released through the Hall of Justus collective with Little Brother
controlling 100% of the project.
In a June 2008 interview with HipHopDX.com, Rapper Big Pooh said: ‹The
template Cquote is being considered for deletion.›
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
...And Justus For All featured 5 new songs as well as enhanced mastered
versions of songs on their 2007 mixtape with DJ Mick Boogie. The
CD version contained 5 new songs for the album and the iTunes version
had 7 new songs. The iTunes version linked former groupmate 9th Wonder
to the group with the single, "Black Light Special".
 Individual member side-projects
Outside of Little Brother, Phonte began a collaboration with Netherlands-based
producer Nicolay as the group, The Foreign Exchange, that ultimately
resulted in the release of their debut album, Connected, in 2004.
The Foreign Exchange released their follow-up album entitled Leave
It All Behind, in October 2008.
Rapper Big Pooh released a solo album entitled Sleepers in 2005.
In 2009, he released two albums, The Delightful Bars, and Rapper's
Delight. In early 2010, Rapper Big Pooh released The Purple Tape
mixtape as a free download. This mixtape featured Big Pooh rhyming
over Detroit-based producer Black Milk's instrumentals from a collection
that used Prince Purple Rain album samples.
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 and Wale. 9th Wonder has produced entire, full-length
studio albums for Jean Grae (Jeanius), Murs (Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition),
Buckshot (Chemistry and The Formula), as well as a remix album of
Nas' God's Son entitled God's Stepson.
 Leftback album, hiatus, and disbandment
During a May 2008 interview with HipHopGame.com, Rapper Big Pooh
hinted that he and Phonte may never record another album together: ‹The
template Cquote is being considered for deletion.›
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. ”
In June 2009, Phonte announced the forthcoming Little Brother album,
Leftback, but also announced that the group would subsequently take
a Black Star-esque hiatus, wherein he and Big Pooh would continue
to collaborate on projects, but that another group album would not
be released for a long while.
Shortly before the April 2010 release of what would become Little
Brother's final studio album, Leftback, Phonte and 9th Wonder exchanged
pointed twitter messages regarding Little Brothers' release of a
previously unreleased 9th Wonder produced single, "Star",
on the Leftback album.
Shortly after the release of Leftback on April 10, 2010, Little
Brother formally announced the group's breakup. Rapper Big
Pooh noted: ‹The template Cquote is being considered for deletion.›
I was just thinking about our own situation and then I realized,
when groups leave, it's just like when a person dies. Every person
dies and a baby is born. So, as Little Brother calls it quits, there
are other groups to not necessarily take our place but to keep the
tradition going...That's what it's all about -- you don't want your
favorite group to force a relationship. Like, you don't want Tribe
Called Quest...If they don't really want to be together, you want
them to make another album. If they make an album just because you
asked for it, it's not going to be the same Tribe Called Quest you
fell in love with. It's going to be something forced. ”
Phonte added: ‹The template Cquote is being considered for
If you're doing business with a friend, you gotta decide, well, do
I end this business relationship and keep my friendship? Or do I
continue this business relationship and end up wrecking both? ”
Main article: Little Brother discography
2003: The Listening
2005: The Minstrel Show