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Sunday, April 21, 2024

N.C. hip-hop duo Little Brother, sans one member, releases new album

Little Brother - GetBack

North Carolina isn't exactly a hotbed for hip-hop, but the Durham duo of Phonte and Big Pooh has quietly represented the state since 2002, sounding more like De La Soul than Petey Pablo.

On their third album, GetBack, the two collectively known as Little Brother continue their tradition of intelligent lyrics reflecting on life and society, this time with a wide array of outside producers filling in for ex-member and producer 9th Wonder.

The former group member has provided one song, though: the handclap-heavy "Breakin' My Heart," which features an unlikely collaboration with Lil' Wayne. Otherwise, GetBack is more upbeat musically than Little Brother's previous work, with "Two Step Blues" and the vintage-sounding "ExtraHard" serving as perfect examples.

"After The Party" is a refreshing analysis of the club scene that is a stark opposition to what is heard in most hip-hop party songs. "Can't Win For Losing," with its hypnotic piano melody and thunderous percussion, is a platform for Phonte and Pooh to vent about their rocky experiences in the music industry.

GetBack is not for everybody. Little Brother is tailored for older hip-hop fans yearning for a glimpse of the past, and even fans of the group may be turned off by 9th Wonder's departure. But for those sick of instructional rap dance songs, Little Brother is for you.

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