Phonte And 9th Wonder Rehash The Little Brother Break-Up

Yesterday, Little Brother fans witnessed Phonte and former band-mate disagree over a song's placement/leak, which led to revelations and an ultimatum.

For nearly three years, Little Brother and 9th Wonder have kept quiet the root of their post-Minstrel Show separation. For much of the media, it's been "don't ask, don't tell," as neither part has welcomed opportunity to speak about the critically-acclaimed early '00s Hip Hop trio becoming an emcee duo.

This past weekend, as Little Brother readies their reported final album, LeftBack, tensions, and perhaps tempers flared as Phonte Coleman and 9th Wonder spoke to each other via Twitter.

The root of the conversation came from the upcoming LB album, which was set to include a 9th Wonder-produced track, "Star" as an iTunes bonus exclusive. The song was recorded approximately five years ago, shortly after the Minstrel Show sessions for Atlantic Records.

After 9th Wonder was needed to approve the song for release, the Grammy Award-winning producer reportedly refused, telling Little Brother's manager Big Dho that the record was not to be released with LeftBack.

After sharing with Twitter followers that 9th had wished for the song not to be included, Phonte (@Phontigallo) added, "In any event, I'm not gonna let anything or anybody stop me from getting music to my fans. Fuck that. Enjoy. And as always, thank you for listening." With the message, Phonte offered the song for free download.

The tensions became mutual when 9th Wonder (@9thWonderMusic), responded to a curious fan in saying, "...only if they knew the REAL story," regarding the status of his former group. Via Twitter, Phonte accosted his former groupmate, saying, "Well tell your side of it or shut the fuck up."

The conversation continued, as 9th Wonder replied, "you are NOT a tough guy.......none of us is...so KILL that noise.....and niggas aint shuttin up. [sic]" The "us" presumably referred to Little Brother, a group that met and formed at North Carolina Central University in 1998.

Known for his stoicism and quiet nature, 9th Wonder added, "I have maintained silence on the matter for LONG time..for this reason. I apologize to yall for steppin outta character," speaking to his 31,000-plus followers on Twitter.



Phonte followed by posting a Saturday afternoon vlog entry to his own 17,000 followers and additional fans. "A lot of cats was kinda shook up with what went down between me and 9th Wonder today on Twitter," began the emcee, singer and Foreign Exchange member. "This will be the last statement that I'll make," he said, before speaking about the root of the issue.

Phonte said that "Star" was initially intended to be released on The Wonder Years, 9th Wonder's shelved album for Asylum Records. "You know what, man, I've got this one, last 9th [Wonder-produced] record that everybody's [suggesting we release on the final Little Brother project]." To illustrate his disappointed, Phonte revealed that he and Rapper Big Pooh recorded "No Time To Chill" for 9th Wonder's 2007 Dream Merchant Volume 2 album, without any direct request or gratitude. "During this time, we weren't on speaking terms...9th never asked us to do that record; our manager Dho asked us." Although Little Brother was newly without 9th, Phonte says he felt compelled to support his former band-mate. "Me and Pooh was both just like, 'Dude, fuck it.' And we did it." Although the independent album, particularly that song, was talked about in the media, Phonte says he was never thanked or compensated for that track. "After it was done and the record was out, I never got anything - a call, a thank you, regardless of money. It wasn't about money." Phonte also said that it might not have been 9th Wonder who requested the song, giving the producer the benefit of the doubt.

In the video, Phonte also recounts the 2007 phone-call that ultimately cemented 9th Wonder's departure from Little Brother. A conversation between 'Tay and Pooh prompted a meeting request with 9th. Phonte suggested the trio meet alone in their North Carolina recording studio. After obliging, 9th then suggested they meet at Phonte's house. Moments later, according to 'Tay, the producer requested to have the conversation by phone. That request ultimately affected Phonte's feelings about his former cohort. "I lost total respect. I feel like, at the end of the day, no matter what differences we have as men, we should always be able to talk."

In conclusion, Phonte made the following ultimatum in the situation: "I'm offering one of three choices to 9th. One: I'm extending an olive branch. If there's anything you want to talk to me, me and/or Pooh, you can address that face-to-face to us, like men. You can sit down and talk to us, like men. At the end, we can say what we got to say, it is what it is - either good or bad...my office is open. The door is open."

The emcee also offered more of the same treatment the group had been dealing with, save for yesterday's outbursts. "Two, either we both have a gag order."

The last option was the following: "Three, keep doin' this passive-aggressive shit you doin', and you can keep feelin' the consequences of it, as you did today."

At press time, 9th Wonder has yet to respond.

LeftBack releases April 20 on Hall of Justus Records.

53 Comments

  • Dee

    Love LB, unique rap group....dont listen to rap much, but LB is like raggae to me...

  • N_NC_CHILLIN

    Im sure there was dirt done by both sides, but Phonte is right, they should have been able to at least sit down and talk to each other face to face like men even if its just for the sake of all their fans! I was heated when I found out that 9th had left the group! I just recently found that shit out and I got all them niggas albumns! I feel like the little brother fans got the shittiest end of the whole deal! them niggas been having problems since 03 aint nobody but their close circle know about that shit! now its too late for the fans to help them reconcile because they left them skeletons in the closet for too long......on to the next.......

  • DX Swift

    I love LB like most HipHop connoisseurs and I understand the nature at hand. There is 3 sides to every story. Phonte and Poohs. 9th Wonder and then the truth. Truth be told. I don't believe Phonte is lying and just talking bullshit. He seemed pretty sincere and even apologetic to a point. Both Pooh and Phonte are still keeping the doors open for 9th to come and talk and clear the air between them. It was better for Phonte to do a video then to let the speculative media fuel more speculation. I'm hating on the fact that this is their last album. Hating that 9th didn't do a joint on the album. I guess we just got to do what Pooh said. "Just press rewind and relive it again"

  • Jacob Crim

    Heres my thing, what has 9th REALLY done since Minstrel show? Sure he has produced a lot of albums but most of them have been mediocre at best, yet he till has this pompous attitude...pretty stupid.

  • Shaun Alexander

    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony stuck together too. Even when Bizzy was kicked out, he still linked up with Layzie to do the Bone Brothers series. So he still was associated with them trhru that, but they all good now

  • Reno Methodz

    You know what, I don't even care what happened between them. To an extent I do, but all I know about LB as a trio, they were making beautiful music together. They may have had a few differences, but they were making beautiful music together. All their albums with 9th are excellent and The Minstrel Show was BANGING. The Getback is good and a little slept on, but you can see where 9th played a big part in earlier albums. They should just hold the noise and get back together and produce the dopeness. The Fans want it and if not the trio, the duo with some support, you know. There are a lot of people who don't know about 9th, or LB. Keep The Love, Keep The Music.

    • L.A.2D.C.

      All of their albums are great...with or without...I mean Minstrel might be their best...but on GetBack they was crankin with Babu and others, plus Separate But Equal had Drama....all great alumbs...Hip-Hop is losing greatness right now and it's a damn shame...this is what hip-hop needs more of instead of all of this bull that's out now....

    • @suuthsayahmusic

      "You know what, I don't even care what happened between them. To an extent I do, but all I know about LB as a trio, they were making beautiful music together. They may have had a few differences, but they were making beautiful music together. All their albums with 9th are excellent and The Minstrel Show was BANGING." - TRUE, I LOVED THE TRIO MORE

  • hiphopscout

    http://www.reverbnation.com/savvysav#/artist/artist_videos/659615?sel_song_id=3407393&autoplay=1

  • Dre Guevara

    damn, it's a shame shit like this had 2 happen

  • my2cents

    Chasing oppurtunities is one thing, but I honestly feel 9th got his priorities (and ego) twisted somewhere along the way. I really doubt Phonte and Pooh were ever jealous of 9th's up-and-coming success. They were friends growing up and who doesn't want to see their dude be successful? In a perfect world, 9th's success would have naturally elevated LB's success as a group. At the time, I just really think 9th started feeling his success was greater elsewhere so he put LB on the back burner. 9th probably thought LB could wait around and record whenever his schedule allowed. Like me first, LB later approach. And if that was the case, I don't blame Phonte for not wanting to play second fiddle. It was probably affecting chemistry and remember- this is a buisiness, its all about money. Other artists probably paid more for beats, who knows! All I'm saying is LB should have been 9th's top priority at all times, never put others ahead of the ones you started out with

  • hiphopjunkeee

    Chasing oppurtunities is one thing, but I honestly feel 9th got his priorities (and ego) twisted somewhere along the way. I really doubt Phonte and Pooh were ever jealous of 9th's up-and-coming success. They were friends growing up and who doesn't want to see their dude be successful? In a perfect world, 9th's success would have naturally elevated LB's success as a group. At the time, I just really think 9th started feeling his success was greater elsewhere so he put LB on the back burner. 9th probably thought LB could wait around and record whenever his schedule allowed. Like me first, LB later approach. And if that was the case, I don't blame Phonte for not wanting to play second fiddle. It was probably affecting chemistry and remember- this is a buisiness, its all about money. Other artists probably paid more for beats, who knows! All I'm saying is LB should have been 9th's top priority at all times, never put others ahead of the ones you started out with.

  • VicTheGenius

    You gotta hear both sides of the story before you make a judge anything this guy just said. I guess people think whatever he just said is gospel. It may or it may not be IDK.

  • Joey Scarfo

    9th wasn't working in the studio with them or touring with them cats since 03. he didnt do interviews either with them. His actions pushed them apart. but he was chasing his opportunities. I dont knock him for that. I knock him for bein a timid passive aggressive hoe. He chose not to sit down and comunicate with these cats not even once. I loved LB and 9th beats always sounded better with them and of course murs

  • HHFAN

    Little Brother was always boring to me. I like 9th's production tho.

  • SOSASAMMY

    Come on y'all! You really think 9th is a asshole??? The main problem wit niggas is they hate to see one of their own succeed. Them jealous salty niggas(phonte and pooh) saw that nigga gettin those big checks and got salty! If those dummies played their card right, 9th could have gotten them the success and MONEY they wanted. The damn crabs in a barrel syndrome! Niggas will never know how to be smart and keep their emotions out of shit, especially when business is involved. That video phonte posted really made him(phonte) look weaker than weak!

  • NC Citizen

    There isn't much detail from both sides to make any sort of judgment. It is unfortunate to see them like this, though.

    • @suuthsayahmusic

      yeah, it sucks really, seeing them dis way; but as fans it's best we stick to the music, cos we don't know much of wat goes down off the rec; but truly, without 9th Lb sounded wackily diffrent

    • kpanilaryea28

      WORD MY NIG!

  • sean w

    OK, so after the departure, 9th produced ONE song for one of the hottest rappers in the mainstream market, got even more exposure (or whatever), ego got bigger along with his rep, yadda-yadda...but who is he to brush off his brothers that he came out the gate with? You're not Just Blaze, Jazzy Pha, Kanye, (u get the pic by now)....you can't possibly be too busy for them, shit, your name is barely flickering out there to be acting like that! Link back up with Little Brother and make some shit happen!!!

  • Gab Soul

    I love LB & 9th but on the real, these dudes should chop it up on the low, instead of making this all situation a public issue.word is bond

  • Watkinz Da General

    I'M FROM NORTH CAROLINA AND SHYT LIKE THIS IS THE REASON WHY NC CAN'T GET THAT RECONITION AS WE NEED! IMMA BIG FAN OF LITTLE BROTHER AND YOU REALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE MEN AND PUT OUT OTHER ALBUM FOR YOU FANS!!! SALUTE!

    • Dre Guevara

      it's the same shit goin' on in the Chi

    • kpanilaryea28

      I AGREE MANE IM FROM THE CACK TOO AND NC HATS ENTIRELY TOO MUCH ON EACH OTHER. WE DONT COME TOGETHER LIKE THOSE ATLANTA NIGGAZ THEY SHIT WACK BUT THEY STICK TOGETHER FOR THE MOST PART.

  • dlp23602

    The only reason 9th is not in the group is that they fronted on his production claiming they outgrew his sound and sought out other producers. After bricking with Getback they decided to call it quits because they knew they effed up by alienating 9th!!!!

    • trooper

      @Joey thats my point. They been had minor issues. But I don't fault 9th or Phonte and Pooh. Certain things weren't handled correctly that could easily be addressed.

    • Joey Scarfo

      naw bro, 9th wasn't working in the studio with them or touring with them cats since 03. he didnt do interviews either with them. His actions pushed them apart. but he was chasing his opportunities. I dont knock him for that. I knock him for bein a timid passive aggressive hoe. He chose not to sit down and comunicate with these cats not even once.

    • trooper

      That was not the what happened. They knew 9th Wonder was an up and coming hot producer. 9th, Phonte, and Pooh had issues right before Minstrel Show came out.

  • DeTayl

    Yo, if we've learned anything from Slum Village, it's that life is to short. Jay Dee passes away then Baatin. Little Brother need to definitely swallow there pride. Gang Starr too. Fuck all that beefing shit! There's alot of "true" Hip-Hop heads who are dying for another Little Brother, Gang Starr or Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth LP.

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  • I'm at work and bored

    Man, this sucks. Sounds like 9th is on some I worked with Jay-z so I'm a diva type shit. i remember the Hiero's Full Circle tour in 03. 9th showed up to the LA show but he missed most of the tour because he was too busy. Sometimes the most talented artists are the biggest assholes.

  • Who's The Bitch

    I'm thinking Phonte is the bitch here. Seen this story too many times with niggaz not knowing how to act with others' success.

    • trooper

      I disagree. I don't think Phonte is being bitch nor do I think 9th Wonder is. I think Phonte is affected by the break up and how things went down. Thats all I sense and you have to remember all three of these cats were good friends so its going to bother all three of them. Before Little Brother got popular DJ Jazzy Jeff sat them down and specifically told then not to let the industry break them up and it did. They didn't heed Jazzy Jeff's advice.

    • DOJA

      Phonte also leaked Getback tho, remember...I'm feeling Phonte more, so I'll hold the party lines...lol

    • Chicasal

      not knowing how to act with others success....tay was def nominated for a grammy this year (foreign exchange)

    • Phony is tha biyatch

      Co-sign. He even got called out for trying to pose like he was hard. That was a bitch move putting out the track on free download like that...kinda tells me Phony doesn't have a whole lotta bizness sense either.

  • master of dirty-boxing

    Come on 9th and little brother get it together we need more good music from yall!

  • kush nap

    9th wonder is talented but hes a punk. it seems like 9th got that jay-z track and bounced on the crew that got him noticed. 9th is a geek boy, he always got something slick to say about pooh and te and the niggas head is inflated. hes not an elite producer, and he never was. hes a dope producer with an ever growing ego. 9th probably wont address this like a man, hell probably take some more shots on twitter like a clown. these niggas need to grow up, fighting on twitter for everyone to see like a cpl ex girlfriends is lame. if 9th dont fuck with LB no more, why he sweating an old track leaking? nigga is a hoe. phonte pulled his card. 3 options, pick one. he looks like a hoe either way.

    • SOSASAMMY

      NIGGA SHUT THE FUCK UP! YOU DON'T KNOW SHIT!

    • kush nap

      mef got that right. twitter exposes a lot of rappers as corn balls. some of these niggas need to stay off the net and let they team promote em. fabolous was always a bitch ass nigga, but twitter only cemented the fact he a bitch ass nigga. i just seen 9th twitter page, and he comes off like a stuck up fruit. you really wanna see a bitch ass nigga tweet? check just blaze twitter page, nigga has an internet meltdown everyday. fire producer, and a sensitive bitch. i wish i didnt know that about him. twitter fuckin niggas rep up.

    • wxoxrxdx

      "Twitter. How masculine does that word sound?" -Method Man when asked by interviewer if he was tweeting

  • antiguccimane

    wu tang and de la soul are the only groups to stay together forever

  • WTF-MAN

    Sounds like 9th Wonder has the personality of someone that is straight bitch. Im with Phonte all the way.

  • unique osmosis

    dang i didnt know 9th was like that fraud type shit if you have sumthing to discuss say it to my face sit down and talk it out kinda lost lil respect for 9th dude got grammy's and the dude's acting about a song dang...

  • Nope Way

    Phonte is right. He owns his Diva-ness. *snaps fingers* Go on girl!

  • JDDD

    Little Brother is dope, come on 9th and get it together.

  • dapluva!

    man the only group i know to last the test of time is De la soul it hurts to see these boys break up for real they are all dope i'll still pump all yall shit together or not

    • sundown

      the roots have lasted save for a few members who had drug problems but thats all "water" under the bridge ya digg

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