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9th Wonder Interview

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    Posted: July 11 2007 at 5:38pm
good information willie
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carrie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 26 2007 at 5:35pm
WOW.  This was great.  Thank you soooooooooo much.
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AllHipHop.com: What was the first song or artist that inspired you to produce?

9th Wonder: They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) by Pete Rock & CL Smooth. I saw the video first before I heard the song, and its just the whole atmosphere of the video. Then the classic horn break in the beginning. And Pete Rocks whole vibe in the video. It made me think, Id like to produce for those dudes. I thought I was going to go to law school since I was a history major, live a normal American life, but it just didnt turn out that way. Now, here I am.

AllHipHop.com: Its obvious that youre an '80s cat. So, hypothetically speaking, if you could make the soundtrack to any '80s cartoon being made into a major motion picture, what would it be?

9th Wonder: Because Transformers is out now, I cant say that. But then I heard Pharrell is making the soundtrack to Voltron, so that cancels that out. G.I. Joe, there we go. If they make that into a major motion picture, please call me up. Those were my top three favorite '80s cartoons.

AllHipHop.com: The South has really risen since you first stepped on the scene with Gods Stepson. Are you proud of the recognition that the South has been getting lately?

9th Wonder: Im happy that Black people are making money, legally. Im happy for that. Any Black man getting money, and as crooked as this industry is, and they aint out hurting nobody, Im all for that; but the quality and the sound of it, I aint with none of that. I mean, Im from the South, but I dont get into that whole territory thing. I like good music, no matter where it comes from. I will champion good music before I champion a region any day.

And I try to look at it like this music isnt made for me and my generation, its for these high school kids. But then I get concerned when 35 year-olds listen to the same stuff. And Im analytical, so I start to look at that mans life. My dad didnt come sit down and listen to N.W.A. with me. He made me sit down and listen to his music, which helped my music and enriched my soul. Thats whats missing today.

Now everything has slowed down, drastically, and everything is two and three syllables. [Lil' Boosie's] Wipe Me Down, [Hurricane Chris'] Aye Baby, [MIMS'] This Is Why Im Hot... everything is just so simple. I aint got no problem with it, it just aint me.

And Ive come to realize, as I grow older, that theres more followers than leaders in this world. And I also feel likeyou know how you feel like youre alone? Youre in a party and all your peers are going crazy, and youre standing around like I dont get it. And you know they dont really deep down like it, but that they just want to jump on the bandwagon? I want to be one of those people that stands up and says, I dont like it. I also dont think its carrying the tradition of Black music and teaching the kids. And not everyone is meant to teach, but just dont ask me to play it in a party. I just cant do it.

AllHipHop.com: People know youre laid back, but they dont know youre really a family man, which I think is dope. How do you balance family life in an industry that seems to thrive on deteriorating households?

9th Wonder: I dont get into the Hollywood stuff. For instance, me doing this interviewmost times you have to go through five people to get to the person. I think thats ridiculous. People do that to seem elite. Im no into that. Im from the South and thats one thing I can say about the South, we grow up, go to college, get married, support our families, and we die. I still live that lifestyle; I just make beats for a living. But with my family, I leave 9th Wonder at the door.

Its funny. People seem surprised that you arent an a**hole. Like, people always say Im so cool when they meet me, and Im thinking, How am I supposed to be? But my family comes first, and I just cant see myself being Hollywood. Id rather be like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis than like Kanye [West], no offense to Kanye or anything. And I feel like if I can do that, I can still go into Wal-Mart and Best Buy, and have one or two people come up to me and say they like my music, instead of having people screaming anytime they see me. I dont want that.

AllHipHop.com: The game right now is really bleak. It seems that everyone is struggling to stay afloat, and attaching themselves to anything that sounds hot to do so. If you could pick one artists who really needs your help right now, who would it be?

9th Wonder: Man, I dont know. Umm, Id have to say Lauryn Hill. We need Lauryn. Women need Lauryn. Umm, Heavy D. And yes, I said Heavy D. I really want old LL Cool J back.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, hes with G-Unit now.

9th Wonder: Yeah, he needs some guidance.

AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Youve been in the game for a minute, and have accomplished things that other producers strive for. Still, you seem to fly below the radar, while someone like Nitty makes one hot track and people are all over it. Do you ever feel pressure to adapt or conform to stay afloat?

9th Wonder: No, I dont feel pressure because for some people, music is all that they have. For some people, its like If I dont do music, what the hell am I going to do? Or like this imaginary building that people say theyre in; they will do whatever it takes to be in the building. Like Im in the building! What is that? Me, I deejay. I spin, so I will always have a job. I teach college, thats another avenue, so I will always have a job.

I started below the radar in this underground era, and use that term loosely. I did music just because, and I just started to get paid for it and that led to other things. So I think that theres a difference between staying current and doing whats hot. Like if you have dial up and you get a modem, thats staying current. But having a [Dodge] Roadrunner and then going out and getting chromed out spinners, thats doing whats hot. Pharrell told me a while ago to always think six months ahead of the game, so when people are doing whatever theyre doing, youre always working on something new, on a different level. I just try to do that.

AllHipHop.com: I feel like thats a big issue right now-people trying to do what they think is hot. Like have you heard R. Kellys album?

9th Wonder: I think the R. Kelly album is an abomination of Black people. The zoo song- if thats not the most ridiculous s**t. It really hurts me that Black people are going around playing that mess. Like one, you know the n***a is going around peeing on little girls, and past that, he is talking about monkeys and trees. If you support that you dont even deserve to be Black no more. He wants to jump on records with all these young cats, damn T-Pain. He is supposed to lead not follow, and I think that only happens with Black music. That doesnt happen with White music. Bon Jovi and U2 are going to play their jams that everybody knows, and everyone is going to go home and be happy.

I just think its a problem when youre 36 years-old and sitting on the 106 & Park couch. I mean, I know that is the only medium sometimes, but look at the audience. Those kids are 14 and 15, screaming I love you. Something is wrong with that. Id just rather appeal to my peers. If a 17 year-old likes me, its because they like my music. Im not going to pander my music to suit them. Big ups to Omarion, hes trying to do it. Hes trying to bring real music back for the younger generation. Its hard getting a 33 year-old dude to buy Omarions album. But the album is hot.

AllHipHop.com: I wanted to talk to you about your new teaching career. You started teaching a Hip-Hop course at North Carolina Central, how is that going? What have the students been teaching you?

9th Wonder: The class is Hip-Hop in Context and it covers Hip-Hop from 1973 to 1997. We do that because we know the age bracket were dealing with doesnt really know anything about those years. They may know up to '84 because of their parents. I bring turntables to class everyday so I can play the song that Im talking about. Last year we had Dana Dane, Doug E. Fresh, Monie Love, DMC, Buckshot, Kurtis Blow and a few other people come by the class to talk or come to a panel. Its cool. We are trying to bridge the gap and get to the youth before some White school gets their hands on it, and begins to take it away from us.

What Ive learned from students is that they dont view Hip-Hop the way we used to. [KRS-One's] Black Cop was a party song with a message. [Public Enemy's] 911 is A Joke was a party song with a message. [Boogie Down Productions'] Jimmy was a party song but also taught you about safe sex. But now, if its a message, I got to be still and burn incense to listen to it. They think they cant party to Common. They figure, I need something I can party to, so Im going to listen to something ignorant.

And I also learned that its mainstream effects are different. I had to wait a week for Yo! MTV Raps to come on. Like, we starved for it. But now, Hip-Hop is everywhere, on the McDonalds commercials, on the cell phones, everywhere.

AllHipHop.com: It's been said that you are no longer associated with the group Little Brother, is that true?

9th Wonder: Yes, its true, but thats all Im going to say about that.

AllHipHop.com: Okay. But you are still a part of the Justus League, right? Do you guys have anything on the platform right now?

9th Wonder: Yeah, were always working on something, whether its on the surface or not. The Little Brother album, Get Back, is coming out soon. I dont know when.

Within the next year, I have five albums coming out. The Dream Merchant 2, its going to be a lot of cursing, umm, a lot of rap joints more so than R&B joints. But I'm doing another album called The Wonder Years that will probably be half and half. And thats going to be an album where theres no cursing. I do that because Im 32 and I know theres a lot of parents that have kids my kids age, and the recurring statement I get is, Man I love to listen to your music, but I can't listen to it around my kids. So thats what I'm aiming for. It ain't gonna be a Christian album, but Tribe Called Quests first two albums didnt have a lot of cursing on it, so I figure it can be done. Then Buckshot and I just finished The Formula and then Jean Graes Jeanius is coming out, that we did like three years ago. And then Im doing an album with Murs entitled Sweet Lord, which has no cursing either. Then outside of that, I have an Erykah Badu single coming out, and people will hear that soon. And I hope that song really pushes me into the category I want to be in R&B, but with a bottom to it. Umm, I did a joint for Small World, an artist on DTP; Teedra Moses.

AllHipHop.com: In a previous interview with AllHipHop, you talked about how the mixtape game was getting old. How do you feel when talented cats like Kanye are jumping on the mixtape bandwagon?

9th Wonder: I think it goes back to trying to stay current. Theres power in mixtapes. I have a friend that owns a mixtape store, but he also sells vinyl. So Im in there recording on wax sometimes, and it was just so many people who came in and said, Do you have that T-Pain?" You think they want the album, but they want a mix cd of just random T-Pain songs. Its crazy. It used to be the DJ Clue mixtape and The Doo Wop, those are the ones I remember, but now its like you can barely hear the song because there is so much yelling. So its just staying current.

Everyones so big on hood love, and the only thing that circulates in the hood is mixtapes. Whatever is recognized in the hood somehow trickles down to White people, which they often times hate to admit. Black people created everything, and people want our swag. So with that hood recognition, youre hot. Although I must admit, I love Lil' Wayne.

AllHipHop.com: I like Lil' Wayne too, but hes getting reckless with these mix tapes.

9th Wonder: I know, but hes clever. He has incredible flow. His voice is dope, and he makes you laugh. So until Jay comes back, hes the best rapper alive. Im on his side. Im not a fan of the Fireman and Go DJ [from DJ Khaled's album]; Im just a fan of his style.

AllHipHop.com: So whats up with a Lil' Wayne album?


9th Wonder: Its funny you say that. I've been sending him beats and Im like Just do a whole mixtape with these beats. I dont want no money. Just put it out how you put it out, n***a. Just give me production credit. So that would be hot if he did that.

AllHipHop.com: Before I go, whats up with Amy Winehouse? People say she thinks shes Lauryn Hill. Do you like her?

9th Wonder: I love her. I love her album. Black people kill me. When a n***a does it, they dont pay it no attention, but let a White person do it, everyone has a problem. Like, Robin Thicke had one of the best R&B albums out last year and people are hatin because hes White. People think that Im going to suffer because they aint making no good music, not gonna happen. I will bump the White people. So big ups to Amy Winehouse. [Laughs]
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