Little Brother - LeftBack

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3.97

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Alas, as they say, all things must come to an inevitable finale and that is definitely the case with the trio-turned-duo, Little Brother. With the release of Leftback, Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh call it quits as a group to focus on other endeavors and thi

An interesting thing happens when you announce you are making your final album. Expectations become incredibly high. Reactions come in bundles of confusion, a mixture of emotion brought upon by years of what fans have known and loved and what they don’t want to see come to an end. Alas, as they say, all things must come to an inevitable finale and that is definitely the case with the trio-turned-duo, Little Brother. With the release of Leftback, Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh call it quits as a group to focus on other endeavors and this album is their curtain call.


The Durham, North Carolina brothers start the album off appropriately enough, with the Khrysis-produced “Curtain Call” Pooh points out the obvious, but also shares plans for the future while rhyming, “This is it, the last monologue / Last act in the play, you could say the epilogue / New books to begin, dear friends / You can always press rewind and relive it, again.” The song acts as a good introduction and says about all that needs to be said about their farewell.

There are some pitfalls in this, of course. Since much of what needs to be said is done in the introduction, the rest of the album becomes less of a final run and more of a regular release. There are too many guests for it to be the last time we’ll hear these two together for a full length, there is no real outro and there is some repetition in subject matter. For instance, “Table for Two,” “What We Are,” “After the Party,” and “Second Chances” with Bilal and Darien Brockington are all worthy, honest tracks but all carry a very similar tone. With production inspired by mellow vibes, all can be labeled “love songs” and that isn’t to knock the duo for rhyming about lady friends, but it seems that it’s done too often on one album. While repetition can hurt the overall play, LB knows how to turn things up.

“Tigallo for Dolo,” “24” and “Get Enough Pt. II” act as reminders that these emcees can truly spit with the best of them. Phonte lets loose on “Dolo,” sharing, “Twenty-one years old, I used to slang verses but 10 years later, I am not the same person.” Adding that he’s grown and that he has a new purpose, it’s clear that Little Brother has also grown and both emcees have new directions they’d like to take. Growth is always commendable, but when these two rhyme like this, it’s difficult for fans not to want another Little Brother joint.

Nevertheless, this is the final installment. While it may not be the classic fans were hoping for when word got out that they were calling it quits as a group, it serves as a reminder of what Little Brother has been for so many years. As the curtain falls, fans can remember The Listening, The Minstrel Show, Getback and more. That can only be done, mind you, if you’ve truly been listening.

90 Comments

  • MC Oz

    Still on top! I luv them real niggaz!

  • Valuv101

    Little Brother top five group of All-Time!

  • Dr. C. Ashley

    A Lazy Album by LB My starting 5

  • Dr. C. Ashley

    A Lazy Album by LB My starting 5 C Jay Electronica PF J. Cole SF Lupe Fiasco SG Kanye West PG Canibus ( dont sleep on Him...his like Derek Fisher LOL)

  • superhova

    I think HHDX made the right decision on this rating. Its funny how this is a comment section for this particular album but niggas down here giving out there top 5 or 10 lists like people really care. I mean if you a real head, everybody should have a simliar lists. It should be a unwritten thing where real cats know what real music is. Now for the Leftback album. You can tell these are throwaway tracks from Getback and I totally agree with the rating HHDX gave. I will miss LB, and I just wished they put a little more effort into making their farewell album. And I also believe if you make remixes, it should sound and be better than the original. No need if the original sounds better. Thats what brought this down to a 3 1/2. Otherwise, it would have been a solid 4.

  • antiguccimane

    stop playin yall this album soudns dope the beats are fucking nuts and the album is way better than wu massacre for being thrown together quickly

  • NC-reppa

    Little brother is bringing back classic hip hop!! may i remind you.... pharcyde,outkast, Tribe called quest, ROOTS... dont hang it up little Brother keep doing ur thang!!!

  • DA SEA

    How Can HIP HOP die if it has 4 Main parts? HIP HOP is not just rappin on a MIC, theres more 2 it, come on ppl.. Graffiti/Break Dancin/Rappin/and Dee Jay n might have died where your at but its still very alive in Seattle!! Big shout out 2 Little Brother For holdin it down 4 all those years!

  • JILL W.

    LITTLE BROTHER FELL COMPLETELY OFF WHEN THEY KICKED 9TH WONDER OUT OF THE GROUP. 9TH WAS THE ONE WHO CREATED THE "VIBE" AND "FEELING" FOR THEM. THAT WAS NOT A GOOD MOVE GUYS. GOOD LUCK!

  • bekalu23

    no matter what anybody say, "speed racin" is lil brother's best song ever

  • BREAKING NEWS: HIP-HOP ON THE DECLINE MORE

    15 REASONS WHY HIP-HOP IS DYING MORE AND MORE: 1. LITTLE BITCH DRAKE, B.O.B., LIL WAYNE, RICK ROSS, WACKA FLOCKA, MORE GARBAGE RAPPERS AKA ETC. 2. FUCKIN HOMOED OUT HIGH TOP KICKS, NEON CLOTHES, MOHAWKS AND SKINNY JEANS. 3. DEATH OF BIG L, DILLA AND GURU. 4. GZA DROPPING ALBUMS ONCE EVERY 3 YEARS. 5. ALBUMS FROM CHANNEL LIVE, DITC, DAS EFX, WU TANG CLAN, BLAHZAY BLAHZAY, ETC. BARELY DROP AND IF THEY DO, THEY ARE USUALLY BULLSHIT QUALITY! 6. AUTO-TUNE HORSE SHIT. 7.GANGSTER BLOGGERS AND CHATROOM GOONS. 8. NOT ENOUGH STRONG RAPPERS, MAYBE ABOUT 30-40 RAPPERS TOPS. 9. THE CHANGING TIMES OF LIFE/MUSIC GENERALLY. 10. QUALITY OF MUSIC EVEN BY GOOD ARTISTS BACK THEN IS SOMETIMES ON THE DECLINE/INCONSISTENT. 11. FAGS LIKE YOU WHO ARE GOING TO COMMENT ON THIS! 12. 7 WORDS AGAIN: WACKA FLOCKA FLAME, DRAKE AND LIL WAYNE. 13. EYEBROW PIERCINGS AND SMALL NOSE STUDS ON BLACK DUDES 14. THE REALISM AND RAWNESS IS NOT THERE ANYMORE, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE HIPSTER GARBAGE TRENDS. 15. LITTLE BROTHER IS NOW CALLING IT QUITS! DAMN!

  • HIP HOP KEEPS DYING

    REASONS WHY HIP-HOP IS DYING MORE AND MORE: 1. DRAKE, LIL WAYNE, RICK ROSS, WACKA FLOCKA, MORE GARBAGE RAPPERS AKA ETC. 2.FUCKIN QUEERED UP HIGH TOP KICKS, NEON CLOTHES, MOHAWKS AND SKINNY JEANS. 3. DEATH OF DILLA AND GURU. 4. GZA DROPPING ALBUMS ONCE EVERY 3 YEARS. 5. NO ALBUMS ANYMORE FROM CHANNEL LIVE OR BLAHZAY BLAHZAY. 6. AUTO-TUNE JUNK. 7.GANGSTER BLOGGERS AND CHATROOM TOUGH TALK. 8. NOT ENOUGH STRONG RAPPERS, MAYBE ABOUT 30-40 TOPS. 9. THE CHANGING TIMES OF LIFE GENERALLY. 10. QUALITY OF MUSIC EVEN BY GOOD ARTISTS BACK THEN IS SOMETIMES ON THE DECLINE. 11. FAGS LIKE YOU WHO ARE GOING TO COMMENT ON THIS! 12. 6 WORDS AGAIN: WACKA FLOCKA FLAME AND LIL WAYNE. 13. EYEBROW PIERCINGS ON BLACK MALES. 14. THE REALISM IS NOT THERE ANYMORE, IT IS ALL ABOUT TRENDS. 15. LITTLE BROTHER IS NOW CALLING IT QUITS!

  • CHi-reppin

    Nah, they're some of the best around! They'll be back in a few years, they're just pissed that they aren't getting the recognition that they deserve and understandably so. These guys aren't entertainers, they are true artists, a big difference and this generation of so called "rap/hip-hop fans" are to mesmerized by the lure of quick money that they over-look the real blue collar hard working rappers. I aint mad @ you Lil Brother. Don't throw your pearls to swine! But um...Fuck that..real niggahs need ya'll.I liked left back but fuck dat COME BACK!

  • C.

    the best joint was the one 9th Wonder produced. That wasn't featured on the album, Phonte released it for free though.

  • sparxsman

    ALL UNSIGNED ARTIST REGISTER @ WEBUILDHITS.COM PLAY THE GAME WITH HIPHOP`S BIGGEST PRODUCERS

  • HIP HOP DIED A WHILE AGO

    TOP 5 RAP DUOS: 1. LITTLE BROTHER 2. ACE AND EDO 3. EPMD 4. JAYLIB 5. RAE AND GHOST 6. CHANNEL LIVE 7. DAS EFX 8. GZA AND RZA 9. ORGANIZED KONFUSION 10. OC AND AG

    • chimadetexpaid

      oh, and BlackStar

    • chimadetexpaid

      what about Camp Lo? nobody gives dem credit for shit it seems like.

    • michaelmic

      whoa you forgot about and blackstarr and slum village outkast

    • Woody Black

      My Top 10 Duos (not in particular order) 1. EPMD 2. Mobb Deep 3. UGK 4. OutKast 5. Clipse 6. Little Brother 7. M.O.P. 8. Organized Konfusion 9. Method Man & Redman 10. BlackStar Honorable Mention: 3rd Bass

    • CHi-reppin

      Nice list but hate it or love it (just as they hated each other) Game and 50 was some cold mothafuckers for the brief two tracks that they did each other! Q-tip and Phife-Dawg was the shit as well!

    • WHOAMen

      i think his top 10 is fine........ the worst in there are "okay" and some of them are legends/pioneer(i.e. EPMD) what u complain bout foos, he got gza/rza on that shit(not that i count them as a duo), OC & AG(DITC FANS STAND UP!!), das efx, EPMD(ny legends and pioneers), edo and ace, little bro, tag team RAE+GHOST(RAGU), jaylib(good stuff but not top 5)........ETC**

    • thizzle dance

      hiphop is not dead and your top 10 duos is wack as fuck. Rae and Ghost is the only one that belongs that high. Mos Def/Kweli? Red/Meth? Big Boi/Andre 3000?

    • MightyMike27

      I think that's 10..

  • Panther49

    Yes, it´s maybe the worst LB album but i still love the shit. Sad thing that it´s the last album, i wish new LB album with Phonte, Big Pooh and 9th but it is how it is... You guys from hiphopdx.com keep doing your job, i like your reviews, peace

  • SOY SAUCE

    NOPE! FAREWELL AND GOOD RIDDANCE. PS, DON'T COME BACK!

  • headhunter187

    am real pissed that these dudes are breaking up in my eyes they single handly saved hip hop and gave hope to the hip hop heads who wanted more scope from the music they loved cos lets be real who really wants to seat around and just listen lil wanye and all his swagger jackers. they r in the top 5 hip hop duos ever to grace the mic along with tip & phife outkast empd red & meth (chemistry wise) and the thing about little brother, is that when they dropped, all the other rappers that people were digging at the time were out of touch with us normal people LB hit that same note that ATCQ hit almost 2 decades ago by bypassing the *norms* of hip hop today I.E money, drugs, hoes and went with just being real dealing with shit like fatherhood, 9 to 5's and other everyday shit that we can relate to One of the thing i really like about LB is the way they deal with women again they bypass thethe norms of today's hip hop and instead of women just being disposable entities that throw themselves at any 1 that SAYS their rappers they are treated the way that most of us would treat them with RESPECT (i know its crazy) . Phonte should be on every hip hop fans top 10 list of mc's ever there is just to many quoteables, you know what their not quoteables their nuggets of wisdom and knowledge that every man should pass on to their sons i cant be asked to list them all but i must say this last album is quite a let down at first i was like this is so dope but after listening a few more times i was like MAAAAANNNNNN is this what ive been waiting for all this time?? remixes of tracks that were on the last album???? i mean this is LBs sendoff they should have done a black album on it, in the sense it was just made with the two of them with a few tracks from 9th and pete rock but instead they've riddled it with entry level rappers that dont add any thing to the overall package. as i said before phonte is (was) one of the best mcs ever to do it (no im not a groupie every rap fan should feel the same) but his missing on this one, and big pooh is just big pooh, one of the things i enjoyed most about phontes bars was the wisdom he delivered with witty bars but on this this last helping there is hardly any trace of that if any and that's the main driving force behind the love L.B gets from its fans. but with that said they r still one of the best duo's eva

    • thizzle dance

      agree with MIGHTYMIKE27 except about "Childrens Story" on blackstar. nothing wrong with that track. It's a Slick Rick tribute, if you didn't know

    • MightyMike27

      I think you guys need to get off these guys dicks. I guess I need to check them out more. From what I heard it seems as only one of them really has the charisma and delivery. Kind of like Binary Star with One Be Lo... Yall are forgetting about Kweli and Mos.. Blackstar, probably one of the best albums ever.. Well Except for that wak ass Mosdef song where he's telling a story, I think it's like number 5 lol, idk... Anywayz I think your crazy for putting Lil Brother up there with all them dudes.. Outkast? Tribe? Meth&Red? EPMD? lol c'mon brah...

  • a_dub_zero

    Just seen these dudes yesterday at UCRiverside. Although the album isnt perfect, I can honestly say they are doing their music because they love Hip-Hop. One of the best live concerts ive ever been to. Phonte is a fool! Support LeftBack!

  • Link

    The album sounds nice for the most part but seeing "The After Party" and "2 Step Blues" from GetBack on here with different beats shows without a doubt that Phonte didn't care about cementing LB's legacy and making a real album that their fans wanted to hear. There's no excuse that either Phonte or Pooh can offer to make an album of rejects and recycled songs pass an actual LB record... especially if this was suppossed to be their "swan song".

    • MTCesquire

      Real shit. The album sounds like they just threw together a bunch of joints they had laying around and called it a day. It's not wack by any means but I would've liked to see more effort put into what's supposed to be the last LB record ever than just treating it like a mixtape and putting random shit on there.

  • Gonzalo

    SOLDADO ENT PRESENTS GONZALO SOUNDBOY KILLA & MI MONTUNO AVAILABLE NOW ON ITUNES & AMAZONMP3 OVER RMX FREE DOWNLOAD http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_3822932 I'M CRUSHING ALL COMPETITION THE INDUSTRY WILL NOT IMPEDE ON MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO RHYME

  • TELL THE WORLD MY NAME

    Can someone confirm whether LeftBack is really left-overs or not? Y'all got me really thinking...

  • TELL THE WORLD MY NAME

    Lazy album....far from garbage though as it has some nice moments on the beginning of the album. I like the Torae shit in the end, but overall, this shit sounds lazy.

  • ksleep26

    i consider getback the last lb album, this shit dont count to me. its just leftover tracks from getback..... might as well be called a compilation or sumn

  • lyricsorflow

    i read a few of the posts and I'm confused. The cd is called Leftback, bc it's a bunch of songs that didn't make Getback. They are just tracks that didn't make the cut. Thats why its not the super album people have been waiting for. Am I wrong??

  • box

    damn i been sleep'n on they last shit,this is knot material right here ain't heard nothing this ill in a minute yell www.myspace.com/panhandoelrcorp

  • YouAreSleeping

    Props to you brothers, much love and keep doing your thing, no matter what

  • Black Admiral

    Something about these dudes is like a Slum village album with better hooks....Never liked 9th beats, so production is okay....Still isn't doper than either Foriegn Exchange or Phonte's mix joint with the 80's joints on there...he killed "Take on Me".......Too bad we lost another real hip hop group...

    • Mndeni

      Im a real hip hop fan and i can ungerstand where your coming from. Spread the word another real hip hop group gone, where do we go now for the real shit/

    • chimadetexpaid

      Im trippin off the fact that da nigga said he dont like 9th beats. dam dude

    • Big Liss

      to D79 To be honest, both Foreign Exchange albums were better than all of the Little Brother albums except the Minstrel Show in my opinion (just an opinion). Obviously, the second F.E. joint wasn't even a hip hop album, it's replay value was crazy. It was also good enough to get Phonte his first Grammy nod. Apparently it did something right.

    • d79

      YOU ARE NO HIP-HOP FAN; saying Foreign Exchange is better than Little Brother Albums!!!!LOL

    • Ehtherboy2323

      9th Wonder left the group two albums ago, so you obviously don't know what your talking about. 9th didn't provide one beat for this album so you can eat those words back up. How bout you actually listen to the group and pay attention to what they've been through. 9th was on with the group with The Listening and The Minstrel Show, but left soon after. He only provided one beat for Getback and not one for this one. How bout you look at the production credits on albums before you comment on them?

    • Ehtherboy2323

      9th Wonder left the group two albums ago, so you obviously don't know what your talking about. 9th didn't provide one beat for this album so you can eat those words back up. How bout you actually listen to the group and pay attention to what they've been through. 9th was on with the group with The Listening and The Minstrel Show, but left soon after. He only provided one beat for Getback and not one for this one. How bout you look at the production credits on albums before you comment on them dumb ass?

    • Ehtherboy2323

      9th Wonder left the group two albums ago, so you obviously don't know what your talking about. 9th didn't provide one beat for this album so you can eat those words back up. How bout you actually listen to the group and pay attention to what they've been through. 9th was on with the group with The Listening and The Minstrel Show, but left soon after. He only provided one beat for Getback and not one for this one. How bout you look at the production credits on albums before you comment on them dip shit?

  • buckeyewu

    Another classic to me. I'd give this a 4 1/2 if I was writing the review. Phonte is a great MC and Pooh has really improved over the years.

  • Altheim

    Hate this 3.5 reviews, too. But in this case i think it's a fair rating. Really expected something big on this one, not even as big as Minstrel Show but.... at least something bigger than this.

  • HIP-HOP IS DONE

    HIP-HOP IS DYING MORE AND MORE BECAUSE OF THIS LOSS OF ONE OF THE MOST SOLID DUOS IN HIP-HOP HISTORY....THESE GUYS CRAFT TRACKS WELL AND COME WITH SCORCHING FIRE. CANNOT KNOCK THIS ALBUM, FUCK A HATER!

  • FourTrackFiasco

    Disappointed. I like the album, but it leaves me wanting more . . . and not in a good way. Remember when Tribe announced their breakup and the Love Movement Drop? It was everything you wanted from the group. Left Back doesn't satisfy that hip-hop craving they've done in the past. The album it self doesn't have any direction, just a bunch of random track plastered together with no since of purpose. And while that might work for some artists, you expect a Little Brother to be more thought out. Phonte once said "Dope beats, dope rhymes . . . this hip-hop really aint that hard." But, I think LB was more than that. They were a group who crafted their projects with the precision of a Benz coupe. While a solid album, Left Back had a chance to leave a lasting impression on the rap game for years to come, but instead came up short. Thanks for the memories LB

    • Big Liss

      I don't get what's with all the name calling. Common once said "If I don't like it, I don't like it. It don't mean that I'm hatin". I'm a LB fan for life, but this album left me with a WTF look on my face. I'm obviously not the only one judging from other comments made on here. Just doesn't stand up in comparison to their other joints. It'll get some replay for a while and then get lost in my ipod somewhere.

    • buddy your a geek

      four track fiasco you are a geek! lb has a solid album and it is worth 15 bucks or whatver...hip-hop died some more knowing that they wont return and rap will continue to go out of trend because a lot of groups/rappers are slowing down and fans dont give a fuck anymore...it is very interesting now!

  • kush nap

    aint no standout cuts really. shame. solid overall, but lacks the knockout punch. big pooh and te were a good team. but they can both plug along and make music solo. 9th can eat a dick.

    • d79

      Nothing more than a LIL Wayne lover.... Keep listening to your "shit-hop"; keep that brain sizzling them cells of yours!!!!

  • ollie

    yup, 3.5 as expected. really interested to see what they give the adventures of bobby ray

  • yea...

    welcome to www.3.5DX.com

  • RTJTTJJGJJKDJGJD

    IT'S AN ABSOLUTE CRIME THAT THE AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO MENTION THE COLDEST TRACK OF THE LP "REVENGE" AND MORE SPECIFICALLY HOW POOHBIE ABSOLUTELY WENT CAPPADONNA (WINTER WARZ) AND COMPLETELY LOST HIS MIND...MIGHT AS WELL GO HEAD AND HAND RAPPER POOH THE TWENTY 10 VERSE OF THE YEAR AWARD RIGHT NOW CUZ DUDE ALREADY SEWED IT UP ON THE FOURTH MONTH......ANDRES TARDIO SHAME ON YOU SIR AND GO BACK AND LISTEN AGAIN PLEASE NOT NOW BUT RIGHT NOW!

  • JDD

    So the Devin the Dude album gets a 4.5?????? Wow, keep studying hip hop...Little Brother is the purest shit.

  • JDD

    Of course hiphopdx rates everything 3.5 . LITTLE BROTHER! C'MON this is heat!

  • sheshbesh

    pretty good, some tracks were weak, but the strong tracks really made up for it!

  • tommy f

    after the party was ont he getback album too...whyd they recycle it?

  • True.Story757

    LB Fa-eva.....u niggas must not like music if u givin em nethin gother than a 5....they workin hard.......and get off 9th's johnson.....

  • WTF-MAN

    Damn, Maybe 9th was Right..............

  • BOZNIAN SOULJA

    lets not forget only jayz and nas get xxxx or above from dx

    • yea...

      lol BOZNIAN SOULJA it does seem that way sometimes. although in DX's defense, IJay and Nas are better than most. but if they gave BP3 anything above a 3 or 3.5 theyre dick ridin

    • Indiemuzik

      There's also Brother ali, Apathy, Slaughterhouse, Fashawn, Black Milk, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Brotha Lynch Hung, Tech N9ne, Cunninlynguists, Elzhi, Jedi Mind Tricks, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Immortal Technique, Joell Ortiz, Torae, P.O.S., Royce Da 5'9 and more.

  • silentsamurai00

    One love LB for being consistent in providing all the fans with great music. I'll check for the next Foreign Exchange release. Where's the rest of the Justus League, Joe Scudda, Median, Chaundon??

  • harris89

    this was super disappointing.

  • Cino

    Love Little Brother just with 9th was apart this album but its still great

  • Really Doe

    I thought Torae would've brought better. All the archival songs should have been bonus songs. These dudes are tight, but they got a lil' careless with the fans. Nice to see a review that doesn't harp on 9th Wonder bullshit.

    • Vocab

      agree 100%, very refreshing to see a LB review that isnt centered around 9th Wonder or his absence. Just reviewing the music for what it is. Nicely done DX

  • RomaPgh

    looking forward to coppin this. Little Brother never disappoints.

  • kpanilaryea28

    dammit i like it! i really think it deserves about a 4 but fuck it they are from the cack and so am i so fuck it they get an extra star lol

  • YaYouKnow

    Its little brother