Little Brother fans were ecstatic when Phonte, Rapper Big Pooh and 9th Wonder performed together for the first time in over a decade at the 2018 Art of Cool Festival. Now, the story behind their unexpected reunion is being told in the new documentary Homecoming.
The North Carolina Arts Council and director Holland Gallagher have teamed with HipHopDX to premiere the short film, which is the second of two documentaries commissioned about Little Brother.
“Creative collaboration is about trust,” Gallagher tells DX. “Phonte trusted me to tell Little Brother’s story and didn’t shy away from giving honest answers during interviews and honest feedback on cuts, even if it wasn’t the most flattering portrayal of himself. One thing I appreciate about working with Phonte is his self-awareness in that way. On our series Hype, it’s the same thing, having his insight is integral to making an honest show about rap in NC.”
He adds, “I really appreciate Come Hear NC for giving us an opportunity to put this project together. I have a lot of pride in North Carolina and our music, and I think archiving and compiling these stories to highlight our legendary artists, past and present, is great. Happy to play a part.”
For Phonte, the documentary is the opportunity to separate fact from fiction regarding Little Brother.
“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you don’t tell your own story, you’re leaving yourself at the mercy of others to tell it for you,” he tells DX. “There’s been a lot of rumors, speculation and straight-up fan fiction that’s been written about LB over the years. When we started working together again, Pooh and I decided this was the time to tell our story as a way to heal past wounds and transgressions.”
He notes, “Before we could focus on our future, we had to clean up our past. The documentary played a huge role in that. To me, being a part of the Come Hear NC campaign means that artists in North Carolina get to tell our stories without compromise; the good, bad and ugly of it all. My hope is that somebody will see the Little Brother story, or see what we’re doing with Hype and say, ‘They did it from home, and I can do it from home too.'”
Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council, also believes the film helps reveal Hip Hop’s key role in the state’s culture.
“North Carolina has long been known for its rich traditions in blues, bluegrass, gospel and funk,” Martin says. “What many people don’t know is that Little Brother, J Cole and Rapsody put our state on the map for Hip Hop. Working with Phonte and Holland on this project has opened new doors for us, and we are pleased that this documentary is shining a light of the importance of Hip Hop in North Carolina.”
Watch Homecoming above.
Check out Gallagher’s first film about Little Brother, which covers the group’s debut album The Listening, below.