Little Brother Discuss Their New Album, Personal Growth, 9th Wonder & More
With less than 24 hours of notice to fans, Little Brother released its fifth album, May The Lord Watch two weeks ago. Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh reunited after nearly a decade to make a record that honors the group’s legacy with skill and wit. Meanwhile, the body of work offers newfound wisdom from men who worked separately for most of the 2010s.
Speaking with Ambrosia For Heads, Phonte and Pooh describe the circumstances leading to their album reunion. Pooh explains how showing new levels of vulnerability allowed him to “turn the corner” with his songwriting. Meanwhile, Phonte explains that he and his partner began writing this album after a roller-coaster season of life. This includes the same losses and gains that yielded 2018’s acclaimed solo outing, No News Is Good News. In this environment, ‘Te and Pooh wrote and recorded this album together, in each other’s presence.
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At the top of the discussion, Phonte explains the significance of the Biblical name. “[The title May The Lord Watch] was indicative of where we are, just at this point of our lives. [It also applies to] seeing a lot of death, living through a lot of loss, and [understanding that] you never think that it’s the last time that you gon’ talk to somebody, until it is. This was just our way of showing that for the first time in our careers, as a group, me and Pooh really took care of each other—as friends and as brothers, even outside the music.”
In an August documentary produced by Phonte, Pooh revealed that Phife Dawg’s 2016 death sparked the conversation that would eventually lead to a 2018 reunion performance between himself, Phonte, and 9th Wonder, and eventually, this LP. That devastating loss to the Hip-Hop community made Pooh reach out to his estranged friend and band-mate.
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During the interview, Phonte and Pooh describe their dedication to Hip-Hop. Little Brother represents a group that emerged in the closing days of the Underground Hip-Hop boom. Eventually recognized in some corners of the mainstream, the group weathered some shifting tides in Rap. However, Pooh admits that in the last decade, he drove for Uber to help support himself and his family. Phonte describes the myth of success in the music industry, and what that looks like in 2019 versus 15 years ago.
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Notably, at the close of the conversation, 9th Wonder’s absence from May The Lord Watch is addressed. Less than a year ago, the producer/DJ appeared with his group in their Art Of Cool reunion show. Phonte reveals that this album began as a reunion with all three men, and details the various circumstances that led to him and Pooh giving 9th his beats back and parting ways.
Press image provided by The Elixir Group.