You know I am very disappointed that Little Brother's Minstrel Show didn't do so well sales-wise. Honestly, I thought it was a great album -- not a classic album -- that had some great beats, fire lyrics and an interesting concept (skits around a fictional TV show). But in the end, LB's horrible choices of singles and Atlantic Records poor marketing plan is what killed that album last year.
Recently, LB rhyme-spitter Phonte had the Internets going nuts over comments he made about today's fickle rap audience. But he also revealed that the LB fam are back in the studio recording new material. Although the North Carolina rap trio's third set, tentatively titled Get Back, is hitting stores in 2007, they have been steadily dropping teaser singles. And all of them are banging!
What's even more interesting is that all of these songs WERE NOT produced by LB's main studio maverick 9th Wonder. And that is a good thing. Not that I'm knocking 9th's production skills, I just think that there are hundreds of producers who can give Little Brother a real fresh sound. Little Brother needs to stay far away from 9th's fruity loops-inspired productions, period.
The first selection is Little Brother's "Life of the Party" (F/ Carlitta Durand), which, according to Tigallo, will appear on a Hall of Justus compilation album called Soldiers of Fortune (due in October).
Another great joint -- and my personal favorite -- is "Step Off," which is produced by A-Trak. I love the melodic guitar loop on this song, and Phonte and Big Pooh laced this song with some nice back-and-forth wordplays. "Step Off" is a very cool track -- thumbs up. And finally, a decent street banger called "Back at It" (F/ Cormega) is making the rounds on the Internets.
In addition, Phonte makes a cameo appearance on DJ Shadow's song called "Backstage Girl," which is a hellified rap-rock(?) song about a seductive MySpace groupie. This track is off the heezy, in my opinion, and will appear on Shadow's forthcoming CD The Outsider.
And not to be outdone, producer 9th Wonder blessed Lloyd Banks with a joint that will appear on the G-Unit's solider upcoming disc, The Rotten Apple (due in October).
So there you have it, Little Brother is back on the grind and making big moves in the rap game. Love them or hate them, I truly believe that the LB fam are the next OutKast in terms of creating and expanding the musical parameters of hip-hop.
However, on their third go-around, Little Brother must step their game up. And as I have suggested a million times before -- Little Brother must work with studio engineer-turned-producer Young Guru. I know this guy can give LB beats that will knock from North Carolina to Los Angeles. And, of course, 9th Wonder should hit LB off with a few joints -- but DO NOT let him produced the entire album, dammit!
You know what they say -- third's the charm. So let's hope that Little Brother can get over that sales hump with Get Back. Quite frankly, Little Brother is an important rap group and I believe that their future contributions will bounce us out of this phase we are in right now with these wack rap songs like "Chicken Noodle Soup" and that awful Jibbs joint, "Chain Hang Low."
Little Brother please save our souls . . .