Wild Style Wednesday Review: Little Brother, The Minstrel Show
Little Brother is probably one of my favorite groups that I’ve ever heard. When 9th Wonder, Big Pooh & Phonte are all together in rare form on an album, they remind me of a force that nothing in this world could possibly stop. I personally am a big fan of The Listening & Getback, but I think these guys are in their top form on The Minstrel Show. Everything about this album is desirable, 9th Wonder’s beats on this album are more soulful than ever, and Te’s & Pooh’s rhymes are most definitely the most on point that they’ve ever been. Another thing that makes this album exceptional is that it’s a concept album that is done the right way. Albums like this make me think that if these guys would have stayed together they could have been one of the greatest trios in Hip-Hop history.
The album starts off with the cheerful “Welcome To The Minstrel Show” and it becomes almost apparent that you are going to hear some of the best 9th Wonder beats you’ve ever heard in your life. The track “Beautiful Morning” kicks in with deafening drums, serenading strings and Pooh rhyming on the track with Phonte like it was their birthright. “Beautiful Morning” fades perfectly into “The Becoming” which features a head nodding beat from 9th full of dirty strings and perfectly syncopated drums. Phonte spits like a hungry pit bull, “…like my life depended on it, I target you herbs/on some teleprompter shit I got you watchin’ your words/Te’s rhymes is real life, yours is so for instance/taxin’ these nigga’s like no dependents…” and leaves the microphone shredded with no effort. 9th Wonder continues the trend of soothing infectious beats on the track “Not Enough”, and Darien Brockington’s voice accents 9th Wonder’s strings so well that the only word for it is beautiful. The lead single from the album, which BET wouldn’t play because it was considered “too intelligent”, contains perfectly placed vocal samples and funky strings that are sure to give you a “feel good” vibe. Joe Scudda (of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) joins Phonte & Pooh to drop some megaton bombs over 9th’s wonderful masterpiece. Phonte & Pooh invite Khrysis to lend his hands to the boards on the track “Watch Me”, which is pretty close to my favorite track on the album. This track just proves that Khrysis is a fucking monster, it contains a madly melodic beat with cuts from DJ Jazzy Jeff that will leave your head spinning like crazy.
Many of you who know this album very well, are probably wondering why I haven’t talked about the song “Hiding Place”. I am going to go on the record and say that “Hiding Place” is not only my favorite song on this album, but maybe ever. There is no hesitation when I make my previous statement. Phonte, Pooh & Elzhi unleash liquid lava lines that will surely leave you speechless, and 9th Wonder’s beat is sure to leave your eardrums demolished. I would love to quote lines from this track, but I literally would have to quote every single line. There are so many quotable lines on this track that it’s almost ridiculous. Definitely one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.
The only adjectives I can use for this album are synonyms for incredible. The whole concept of this album is ingenious with all of its slapstick comedy and mockery. As I mentioned earlier in the review, I’m a huge fan of everything Little Brother has done but this album tops it all. I could honestly put this one amongst my favorite albums of all-time. It’s saddens me to think that these three may never make another album together, sure they may always still collaborate but it’s not the same. The Minstrel Show is the main reason I’ve come to love Little Brother.
9.5 9th Wonderful Beats out of 10