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Album Review:: 9th Wonder - The Wonder Years

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Adding to a healthy and impressive roster of work, former Little Brother producer and hip-hop purist, 9th Wonder, drops The Wonder Years.  The first track "Make it Big", speaks to 9th''s production appeal to the boom-bap, tru-school crowd.  The simplicity of the beat allows you to get your head nod on while getting the most from the lyrics, which 9th and his Justus League producer associate, Krysis, spit with mediocre results.  I appreciate him dropping verses and telling his story, but thankfully he knows his limitations and sticks to the beats for the remainder of the album.

"Band Practice" features Phonte of the now defunct and somewhat missed Little Brother and Justus League member, Median.  Phonte took a break from a multitude of other recording projects, including his work with producer Nicolay for Foreign Exchange and recording his own solo album, to take us all back to familiar sonic territory.  9th is great at sample selection and crafting something soulful and classic into something just as soulful, yet with a real hip-hop edge.  It sounds like various other songs off any of the Little Brother albums, and this isn''t a bad thing at all. Phonte rides the track with a more mature cadence and a flavorful delivery of witty lyrics. Median also adds to track nicely. Suspiciously absent, however, is Big Pooh.  It would have been nice to have the boys reunited on a track.

The album The Wonder Years is not groundbreaking by any means and there is no real variance from 9th Wonder''s production style, which is fine by me. He does manage to compile a very solid LP here and stay true to his vision by not conforming to any of today''s standardized pop fads.  The album features a host of amazing talent such as Warren G (yes, Warren G --- and he does still get busy on the mic), Marsha Ambrosius, Kendrick Lamar and more.

This album is long overdue for the boom-bap hip-hop crowd and seems to have enough variety to keep the masses entertained and necks sore from all that infectious head noddin''.

Check out "Band Practice" featuring Phonte, and Median

{s5_mp3}Band Practice.mp3{/_mp3}

Written by: @JMJwon