On Its 10 Year Anniversary, Little Brother Remember The Minstrel Show With New Perspective


On Its 10 Year Anniversary, Little Brother Remember The Minstrel Show With New Perspective

According to many Hip-Hop Heads, one of the most complete, cohesive Rap albums of the 2000s is Little Brother’s The Minstrel Show. Released by Atlantic Records, the LP is a bittersweet moment for its makers and its legions of fans. Ten years ago yesterday (September 13, 2005), 9th Wonder, Phonte, and Rapper Big Pooh made their final studio album as a trio. Their highest charting appearance in a group career that spanned 2001-2011, the North Carolina-based trio delivered the kind of album that fans hoped would follow debut The Listening.

In the decade since The Minstrel Show, much has changed for Little Brother and the complete Hip-Hop landscape. While that moment in musical time produces a lot of questions, what-if’s, and warm general sense of nostalgia, one thing is true: all three group founders are making great music still.
Although Phontigallo, Pooh, and 9th rarely go backwards these days, theyâ€"joined by former group manager Big Dho, Atlantic Records exec James Lopez, and Soul Council/Away Team member Khrysis, honored the group’s lone major label LP with reflection. Watch Loud spoke to the men, and gathered some information that makes the remembrance all the sweeter.

This comprehensive feature by Jerry Barrow recalls the storied (and sudden) meeting with Lyor Cohen, Big Pooh forgetting lyrics twice in one day (circa 2003), and the growth the group and its members made between 2001 and 2004.

Looking specifically at The Minstrel Show, it is revealed that Kanye West, Just Blaze, Method Man, Sean Price, and Yasiin Bey (among others) were present for many of the album sessions (Dho provides photographs of the studio and the master DAT tapes). The famed cover art was shot at the label (by Dho), by mere happenstanceâ€"on an out-of-the-box camera.

“We’re coming off the heels of Rawkus Records and that term ‘backpack’ was really thrown around and it was us against the ones we thought were too commercial,” reflects 9th. “I can honestly say us being on Atlantic [Records] we went in trying to be social misfits. We weren’t trying to fit in in anyway shape or form.”

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