9th Wonder Compares The Impact Of Kendrick’s DAMN To P.E.’s It Takes A Nation (Video)
9th Wonder’s introduction to the Hip-Hop industry (by way of Little Brother’s The Listening) is not even 15 years old. However, in that time, the producer/DJ/professor has become a powerful voice in the music and culture. Like his discography, 9th has been an advocate for the songs, albums, and musicians he grew up admiring. At the very same time, from inside his Jamla Records label to beyond, this artist has amplified new voices, perspectives, and styles. Few Hip-Hop artists can be one degree of separation from Lil Wayne and Jean Grae. 9th is the same no matter who he is working with: soulful, honest, and acting with what he considers the culture’s best interest.
Appearing on PBS’ The Open Mind, 9th engages in an enthused discussion with host (and apparent Hip-Hop Head) Alexander Heffner. In the conversation, 9th explains why The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was in his inaugural four albums to be included in his These Are The Breaks archive at Harvard’s library. Other choices include Nas’ Illmatic, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. He later adds that he hopes the platform grows to include Eric B. & Rakim, together, placing vinyl copies of Paid In Full in the archives (he guarantees that 1987 LP will be an inclusion). Using Prodigy’s June 20 death to illustrate his point, the Jamla founder insists that Hip-Hop create opportunities to honor its creators while they are still here.
After 16:30, 9th makes another powerful point. “With Chance The Rapper, there’s not only a political edge, there’s also a spiritual and religious edge to it. Also with this last Kendrick Lamar album, it was the same thing: venturing off into a place that a lot of people, again, think that Hip-Hop can’t go. People actually still look at Hip-Hop as not the genius art form that it is—that we’re not able to go exactly where we want to go with this thing, especially with the words and the message. I think Chance proved that wrong,” 9th says. “Kendrick [has] the highest-selling Rap album this year [with DAMN.]. Right? If we look back maybe two or three years ago, ‘political Rap doesn’t sell,’ right? But he’s changing that narrative, kinda taking it back to the times when Public Enemy [album] It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back sold two million copies [including] to a seventh grader like me at that time. It’s going back to that time. It’s slowly going back to that time, but it’s gonna take a while.”
This interview is the latest moment in a busy 2017 for 9th Wonder. He made “DUCKWORTH.” with K-Dot, in addition to a joint with G-Eazy. 9th is confirmed to be co-producing The Roots’ upcoming album, and made a public appeal to hook up Redman with tailor-made beats. If that were not enough, the Little Brother co-founder liberated some tracks from the archives of the other L.B. fam, Lost Boyz’ Mr. Cheeks.