CHECK THIS DOPE INTERVIEW WITH 9TH WONDER BY JP WILLIAMS. 9TH SHARES SOME INSIGHT INTO THE NEXT PHASE OF HIS CAREER POST-LITTLE BROTHER.
Written by: JP Williams
It seems like just yesterday Patrick "9th Wonder" Douthit was an "aspiring" producer, sitting in my room making bangers with records I thought were utter trash. It never crossed my mind that years later, the guy sitting in my room chopping Curtis Mayfield would later work with heavyweights that we idolized like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Ericka Badu, De La Soul, and Mary J. Blige. While that list continues to grow, I caught up with the Wonderbread man to see what's poppin'.
First some history is needed. I met 9th Wonder in 1996 when we were both students at North Carolina State University. We didn't really hang until 98'-99', when both of us were getting started with production, along with fellow Justus League producer Son of Yorel. (I went by "Eccentric" and was one of the 4 original producers of the Justus League) We pushed each other to new heights, routinely sharing beat tapes, production ideas, and equipment/software. It was evident even then that 9th possessed a unique combination of talent and determination that pushed him well into the stratosphere.
Routinely I keep in contact with 9th to check out new unreleased material, but primarily just to dig into the endless onslaught of instrumentals. It's difficult to sit down in the studio with this guy for an hour listening to what seems to be an endless stream of dopeness while witnessing his passion for his work and not come away completely amazed. I've done it so many times, so I know what Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, and the many others 9th has worked with felt after a listening session. Your neck is literally sore and you wonder how he gets it done. It's been an experience watching him grow over the past 10 years.
Recently, we got up in Raleigh, NC for a listening session. Within minutes of settling down, the Away Team (Khrysis and Sean Boog) show up, two guys I haven't seen in ages.
Khrysis apparently is on a Steve Arrington/Slave kick, which leads to us doing some Steve Arrington research. Comedy ensued as we discovered his 2009 solo album, "Pure Thang." (Maybe it's just me, but old guys talking about pure "thangs" just wreaks of inappropriate behavior with minors). After chillin' with the old Justus League fam, I sat down with 9th and played catchup:
Let me start by saying I've heard the Murs record and the chemistry you two guys have is astonishing. This was the first album recording on the west coast. How would you say that affected the sound of the album?
9th: Just the overall feel of the record. The whole vibe of L.A. changed the sound of the record. I let the vibe I got from my West Coast family dictate the sound of it. I made "Live from Roscoe's" in the studio with Kurupt, so the whole studio vibe really helped. Plus E. Jones adding those bells and whistles on the record took it to the NEXT level.
What projects are coming down the pipe?
9th: Lots of things. David Banner and 9th Wonder "Death of a Popster," Buckshot and 9th Wonder "The Solution," and me and Murs will do it again...running two labels also. Alot of things.
I know you've been trying to catch up with Nas for a while, even making the infamous "Come on Nas" youtube video. Any updates on that or other projects with any well known artists on the horizon?
9th: Jay-Z asked me for some joints when I saw him in Greensboro. I played joints for Nas in ATL. I've been spending LOTS of time trying to make my artists well known though.
You were the first major artist to popularize the use of Fruityloops and other computer software for sample-based production. What equipment are you using nowadays? Still on that Fruity?
9th: FL-Studio and MPC 2500
As we both know, you have a ton of beats in the vault that you want people to use, but for some reason they never see the light of day. I know personally I can think of hundreds of bangers I've heard that have never been used. How much say do you have in what beats artists pick?
9th: Man its funny ... "Slow Down" by David Banner is a 6 year old beat. You NEVER know, I've got tons of beats that never see the light of day.
Alot of people are souring on the current state of hip-hop, what are you listening to nowadays and what artists would you like to work with?
9th: Raekwon, Jay Elec[tronica], Blu, T.I. (big fan of his), Laws, Skewby from Memphis, Cyhi Da Prince, my artists, everything pre-97, lol.
You, like myself, are one of the most die hard Duke Blue Devil fans around. I see you on Facebook religiously fighting with Carolina die hards. What are your thoughts on the rivalry and Duke's surprise championship run this year?
9th: I love it. I love shuttin' Carolina fans up. I wonder what they are gonna say if we repeat ... man facebook might BLOW up. lol. Seriously, its a great rivalry, the best in sports.
What's up with your class at Duke. Does it differ from the class you taught at Central?
9th: More in-depth, not because of the students, but because of the type of class. We get more into the social-political aspects of music, as opposed to at NCCU it was just plain history.
I'm sure alot of your students want to have a career in music, what advice do you offer them?
9th: Get your degree...lol...this game is NO joke. I just tell them the truth, I don't believe in letting people learn the hard way.
Do you keep in contact with any Justus League members?
9th: Yessir, Justus League is STILL what u need!
I know both you and Phonte very well and recent events have made things even more difficult for the two of you. Do you guys talk at all?
9th: No sir. We are both bull-headed, man, and stuck in our ways...two capricorns. Sometimes you gotta let go and let God homey. He will handle everything when you come to wit's end.
Both of you have seen alot of success since the breakup, what will it take for the two of you to put things behind you? Are you open to that?
9th: Us. The media, everybody is taking their part in standing around us saying "fight, fight, fight." People love that man. Once everything and everybody goes away and finds something else to do, we will.
Did you get a chance to read the interviews on okayplayer.com with Pete Rock, ?uestlove and other regarding LB's history and their last album? Any thoughts you'd like to share with regards to that?
9th: Nah, that's their thoughts. I got the music and memories bro, we did our thang.
Tell me about Jamla and the roster of artists you have on the label.
9th: We got Big Remo, Actual Proof, Rapsody, Thee Tom Hardy, Tyler Woods, Skyzoo, TP, Heather Victoria, and GQ. (alot right?) It's gonna be fun man, I get to let them know all of the mistakes I made, so they can be better off.
What is your ultimate goal with the label?
9th: Just to stay in our lane man, everybody equates TV and Radio as success. What about being financially comfortable, traveling the world, and meeting your heroes? That's success to me.
So if an aspiring artist was interested in signing with Jamla, what type of artists are you looking for and how would they go about getting in contact with you?
9th: Contact Maya Jackson, VP of Basketball Operations, Team IWW/Jamla/Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also looking for interns. There is no pay involved, but the experience will help you understand the game. You can also contact Maya for that as well.