Part of the new millennium resurgence of alternative rap, the Durham, North Carolina-based group Little Brother drew from atypical inspirations for Southern hip-hop: classic Native Tongues outfits like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as later torch-bearers like the Roots and Black Star. MCs Phonte (born Phonte Coleman) and Big Pooh (born Thomas Jones) swapped rhymes with an easy chemistry, but the group's real focal point was DJ/producer 9th Wonder (born Pat Douthit), an old-school sampling technician who quickly established himself as an heir to production wizards like DJ Premier and Pete Rock. They were worthy successors to their beloved elders, as showcased on The Listening (2003), The Minstrel Show (2005), and Get Back (2007). ~ Steve Huey
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