Having gained critical and commercial success for his respective work with Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Little Brother and his own stable of artists, 9th Wonder has seen the full spectrum of urban music. And while people may label some of his contributions as everything from “underground” and “backpack” to outright pop, 9th doesn’t particularly see the need for such labels.
In a recent interview with Christian Hernandez of GoldenUndergroundTV, the North Carolina beatsmith explained how that philosophy applies to working with artists like Maybach Music Group’s Wale. After working 9th Wonder on 2009’s Back To The Feature, Wale drew criticism for signing with Ross and MMG—where he rhymed over a decidedly different style of beats.
Check out the full interview below.
“People gotta understand that if you wanna sell a mass amount of records, your style is going to change,” 9th explained. “If you want to sell 2-3 million records…you’re almost considered pop if you sell that many records. It didn’t used to be like that. But now, if you sell 3 million records you’re a pop artist. Period. Whether you rap or not, you’re listed in another demographic. In order to attract those people, you have to change your sound. It’s just up to you if you want to do that or not.”
For his part, 9th said he would still consider working with Wale and that the DMV spitter is still dope to him. Much like the 2011 track, “Base For Your Face” that paired him with Lil B, Jean Grae and Phonte, 9th said he was more interested in the final product that people’s perceptions of the artists involved.
“It came out dope,” 9th added. “I didn’t change my style…[Lil B] could always rap like that. ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ got 3 million views on YouTube. Does that say more about what he’s doing or what the people like?”