There is so much that we admire in the work of North Carolina’s very own Professor of Soul, 9th Wonder, that it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. Since bursting onto the scene in 2002 with his personal Nas remix project ‘God’s Stepson’, and in the process virtually birthing the whole album remix movement, 9th has hardly put a foot wrong. We’ve watched him closely since then, his soul knowledge and wonderful drums, his peerless updating of the golden age hip-hop aesthetic, his relentless crate-digging and sampling brilliance, his dedication to producing entire albums for some of our most treasured artists. Damn it, the man even lectures on hip-hop, soul and funk history. He’s got a PhD in beat-making excellence, and a first class point average in production.
His work with Little Brother on ‘The Listening’, ‘Chitlin Circuit’ and ‘The Minstrel Show’ are amongst our favorite moments in 2000s rap, while his soon to be completed trilogy of albums with Buckshot, his completed quad of albums with LA legend Murs, and his single full album projects with Jean Grae and David Banner are all top of the Twelve Bar rotation schedule. There is just something about 9th that fits snugly with our own belief in all good music rooting back into the twelve bar blues progression, a shorthand for the roots of all soulful, funky things.
With 2011 already bringing stellar work with Median, reunion projects with Phonte, Drake, Buckshot and more, the growth of his It’s A Wonderful World Music Group and Jamla records imprint, solo compilation ‘The Wonder Years’ and fascinating documentary project ‘The Wonder Year’ (charting his own career, impact and love of music) we know one thing. We’re going to be mighty busy enjoying the fruits. So when we got a chance to pass Mr Wonder The Twelve, you know we’d be the ones doing ‘The Listening’. It’s food for thought dawg, get a plate.
1. Who's in the house?
The Zulu Nation, Jamla Records, 100% Black Child.
2. Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Kindergarten, naptime, I crave for naptime…at age 36!
3. It ain't where you're from, it's...?
Where u wanna go.
4. Give me the fortune, keep the fame?
Give me the respect.
5. After the show it's the after-party, and after the party it's the...?
A fine eating establishment, then the "itis".
6. It's quite okay for a gangster to wear sandals?
Only if you are Ron Isley, Frankie Beverly, Or Fred Williamson.
7. If I ruled the world?
I don't want that burden.
8. Do you want more?
Is a great album.
9. How does it feel?
Exhausting to be in this game.
10. What's next on the menu?
Man...more music, passion and soul
11. Give me the reason to want you back?
I played Luther Vandross at ALOT of my parties...its the only way.
12. Tell us why it's all love...
Cause its all LIFE...