The Wonder Years, 9th Wonder, 2011
I recall saying something in my review of Oddisee's Rock Creek Park album, that the list of decent albums set to release this fall looked few and far between (or something to that effect). Well 9th Wonder managed to put his hands in a couple projects that clearly prove me wrong. If you didn't know, 9th has his record label Jamla which has co-released several projects with Duckdown Records. 9th has worked with just about everyone on Duckdown and he's developed several artists for his newest label Jamla as well. Despite any beef that some people may have with 9th Wonder claiming to be the face of North Carolina hip hop, I think track records say more than any self proclaimed title. When you look at the impact 9th Wonder has made on the hip hop industry since he started to make noise, you can't really compare anyone else in NC to him. He had people desperately searching for Fruity Loops production software for Christ's sake! Before Little Brother came around, I can't remember any hip hop artists (dj's, producers or mc's) from North Carolina. So, it's not off base to say that LB and 9th Wonder are the face of NC hip hop, at least in my opinion as a hip hop fan.
There is so much soul and funk in 9th Wonders music that it makes compatible with a lot of different rapping styles. He can work with so many different artists because the soul connects him to the South and the funk connects him to the East and the West. The song above is a dope track featuring Masta Killa and Halo. It's a perfect example of how 9th Wonder can turn dusty soul records into fresh hip hop production appropriate for 2011. There are plenty of other tracks on the album that prove the point, but that's why you should go pick it up! Here's a quick trailer for this album, The Wonder Years, produced by LRG.
When you get a mega producer like 9th Wonder to release a solo album, you know there will be an insane lineup of featured mc's and vocalists. Going from the top of my head, Skyzoo, Fashawn, Phonte, MURS, Warren G (yeah, that's right!), Masta Killa, Halo, Erykah Badu, Rapsody, Tanya Morgan, Khrysis, Atual Proof and there are a lot more that I can't even remember right now!
Other songs to check out are:
Band Practice, Enjoy, Hearing The Melody, Loyalty, now I'm Being Cool, No Pretending, 20 Feet Tall among others.