Rapper Big Pooh Details How He, Phonte & 9th Wonder Re-Built Their Brotherhood
In September, Little Brother surprised fans with an unexpected reunion on stage at the Art Of Cool Festival in Durham, North Carolina. It was the first time all three members—9th Wonder, Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh—performed together in 13 years and a fitting location for the Tar Heel State natives. Naturally, their performance got fans excited for the prospect of a Little Brother reunion tour, or even an album. The trio began taking major steps apart from one another in 2006, when 9th left the group. Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte continued on as a duo, but 2010’s Leftback proved to be Little Brother’s final album.
All three members, Heads know, have been active on solo and collaborative fronts. Most recently, Rapper Big Pooh released RPM, a collaborative album with producer Focus… He visited The Breakfast Club to discuss the new work, but devoted several minutes of the conversation to the future of Little Brother. Near the 7:14 mark, Angela Yee asks Rapper Big Pooh his thoughts on the possibility of a full-fledged Little Brother reunion. “I don’t know, we [have] got to have those conversations,” he says. “It felt good,” he added before explaining that the September performance was also the first time he and Phonte had been on stage together for eight years. The concert was remarkable, not just because of the reunion factor but also because of how it came to be. As Pooh explains, “It was last minute, I literally was at home in Charlotte and I got a call. It was ‘Te and 9th, like, ‘Yo, we got this opportunity, what you wanna do?'”
The Little Brother mini-reunion happened, says the rapper, because of a confluence of random events. Royce 5’9 missed his flight to the festival, which prompted the promoter to call Phonte to do a solo set to take his spot. “‘Te was, like, ‘This is [the] Durham Bulls’ stadium, the place of one of [Little Brother’s] most iconic photos. Let’s try, let’s see if we can do it,” Pooh recalls. “He called 9th, then he called me, and I was, like, ‘What’s the money like?’ That was my first question.”
After getting the financials worked out, Big Pooh says, he was in. With an impromptu, two-and-a-half hour drive ahead of him, he set out to make Hip-Hop history. “I grabbed some clothes out the closet, hopped in the car,” he says.
It’s then, at the 8:26 mark, that Yee asks Rapper Big Pooh if he and his group members have kept in touch since that performance. “Yeah. I mean, we was talkin’ before that. People didn’t know, ’cause we weren’t coming out, making music. But we had all been in contact, years before that. Just building that brotherhood back,” he tells her. “It was a period of time when none of us were speaking to each other,” he adds before telling Charlamagne Tha God that there wasn’t ever any “beef,” saying instead that “All of us needed to mature in our communication and other things. Me and ‘Te been talking for, like, three years. Me and 9th been back talkin’ since, like, 2014 or somethin’ like that.”
One of the benefits, he says, of appearing together in October was that “it forced us to start having conversations that we didn’t have prior,” meaning “to discuss whether we were gonna do anything else other than that one show.” When Yee asks him how that discussion is looking, Big Pooh says simply, “We’ll see.”
Charlamagne, at the 9:33 mark, asks Big Pooh why he didn’t include Phonte or 9th Wonder on his new album. “Well, there’s no track from 9th because it’s produced all by Focus…,” he responds. “‘Te was supposed to [contribute], and I was waiting on the track and then he ended up getting busy,” he explains.
“So y’all got a good relationship today, you, Phonte and 9th?,” asks Charlamagne. Rapper Big Pooh responds, “Yeah. Those are my brothers.”
RPM features Justus League member Chaundon as well as onetime Major Figgas and Re-Up Gang member Ab-Liva.