Editors' pick

Little Brother

Hip-Hop/Rap
'

Editorial Review

On Little Brother's 2003 debut, "The Listening," the three North Carolina college buddies offered tales of young men who happen to rap but struggle with bills, day jobs, relationships and fatherhood while also stylistically acknowledging such big brothers as Native Tongues, Pete Rock and Gang Starr. DJ 9th Wonder's re-contextualized soul samples provided a bluesy backdrop of beats for Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte's witty verses, and an underground sensation was born. After eight years, four quality albums, multiple mix tapes, a difficult major-label stint, countless tour miles and a very public and contentious split with 9th Wonder, the fellas have decided to call it quits as a group. The two MCs have thriving and artistically solid solo careers, so despite the gnashing of teeth from fans, going out on top while you're still friends isn't a bad idea. Pooh and Phonte's show at the Black Cat is a fitting farewell at a venue that nurtured their dedicated fan base from the beginning.

--Rhome Anderson (May 2010)