It's been the rumor that wouldn't go away. Critically acclaimed hip hop duo, Little Brother, was coined as "too intelligent" for BET. Many may recall the "Lovin It" video - from Little Brother's sophomore LP titled The Minstrel Show - was rumored to not fit their audience's demographic and was in turned called "too intelligent" to be aired on the network. It's an ugly rumor that the network hasn't been able to shake.
But now 1/2 of the group, Phonte, has been asked to participate in the BET Hip Hop Awards that take place in Atlanta on October 13th (and will air on the network October 17th). Phonte will be featured in the "ciphers" that take place during the award show. Last year, the "ciphers" featured Lupe Fiasco, Remy Ma, Saigon, Sway, Styles P and Rhymefest.
Steven Hill, Executive Vice President of Music & Talent, spoke on the Little Brother issue and Phonte's inclusion in the award show.
“BET wouldn’t play (their) video because their music was ‘too intelligent’? I’m not sure how all that confusion started,” he said via statement. “I was surprised when the accusation came up. The Little Brother CD was one of my personal favorites and Phonte’s flow is crazy. When it came time to put together ciphers for this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards, I personally requested that he be involved. We’re very glad that he accepted. And, of course, he ripped it.”
HipHopDX also spoke to Phonte about the situation.
"Although the history between BET and Little Brother has been very rocky and controversial, I'm still thankful for the opportunity to expose my name and my group to a bigger audience," he stated.
"I challenge BET to go even further outside the box and challenge their viewers with fresh, new faces that show hip-hop in all its varied forms. By highlighting artists such as myself, Stat Quo, Joell Ortiz, and Kardinall Offishall in this year's award ceremony, they're off to a good start.
When asked if fans of the group would feel like they "sold out", Phonte responded by saying "The people who would say that, I don't consider to be 'fans' at all honestly. What type of 'fan' wouldn't want to see an artist they like performing on a nationwide platform and being exposed to more viewers?"
"I can't give to those people and their myopic thinking (about us getting) any attention," he continued. "I know that Little Brother's true supporters will just be happy to see Phonte spittin on BET with a Getback t-shirt on. That's all I'm concerned about."
In the meantime, Little Brother's third album on ABB Records titled Getback will be released on October 23rd and features Lil Wayne, Hi-Tek, Mr. Porter, Illmind and Nottz.