Little Brother GetBack

Little Brother GetBack
Back when true school trio Little Brother sent shockwaves through the conniption-prone hip-hop blogesphere when they announced 9th Wonder’s official exit a few months ago, heads who felt they’d seen this movie before feared the worst. But all unconditional love for that gifted beatsmith aside, LB have long proven themselves capable of rocking any beat, regardless of origin, given their waste-laying post-Minstrel Show mix-tape output. They continue that good work with GetBack, their chin-up return to label independence and proof that the duo are no worse for wear. Big Pooh kicks things off in fierce form, beating back the current U.S. congressional fight against hip-hop with one of his most impassioned verses to date on "Sirens.” Phonte follows with some lyrical acrobatics of his own over a tricky beat count producer Illmind cooks up on "Can’t Win For Losing.” For their part, he and other chosen beat crafters Khrysis, H-Tek, Nottz and Zo! maintain the snappy, soulful LB vibe 9th first etched in stone. The former member’s lone contribution comes with the Lil’ Wayne-accompanied "Breakin’ My Heart,” its light bells, laidback double claps and all-to-familiar feel simply adding to this already tight collection. It’s a reminder that while the marriage may be missed, the LB beat goes one without the slightest hitch.

Would Little Brother take another crack at a major label?
Phonte: Personally, I’d never go back! I just don’t see the point of it for the type of music that we do. The majors now are more concerned with selling ringtones than selling your content, so unless you’re just making that kind of music that’s ring tone friendly, it really ain’t no place for you. An ideal situation for me would be a label that allows me to put out records whenever I want. It just doesn’t make any sense for me to be on a label that doesn’t understand and doesn’t see the worth in what I do. [And] in order for us to stay on our jobs as musicians, we got to put stuff out of quality.

Has the struggle abated much since The Listening?
Not really, you know, it ain’t really happening. I mean, financially we’re in a better place than we was when we dropped The Listening, but from a struggle and hustle standpoint, it’s still pretty much the same. There’s always a Goliath to your David that you’re going to have to battle, you know? We’re still a group that not that many people really know about, but the following that we do have, they ride for us. It’s different and it has been a struggle but we just keep doing what we’re doing and we move on. (ABB)