Fresh off of the release of our brILLiant youth EP 9th wonder stops by Hip Hop DX for an in-depth interview where he discusses Little Brother's original beginnings, The importance of Branding in today's industry, and explains how he crafts. Check some excerpts and clips from the interview and read the rest in its entirety here.
HipHopDX: I’m pretty excited about the Jamla roster.
9th Wonder: Are you really?
DX: Yeah, I’m easy. I just like talented emcees. I’m a lyrics-first person. You got GQ’s project coming up. What are you excited about?
9th Wonder: I think people love growth, right. People like to hear growth of an emcee, especially coming from somebody that is “seen as underground” even though I’m on like 20 million albums [Laughs], you know what I mean? People like to see that as us not growing and not expanding and things like that. So when an artist of mine grows and shows versatility, not necessarily trying to make a big hit, but just shows versatility it says something and that’s the thing about Q’s album that I’m excited about because he is probably the most versatile artist that we have. He came in that way. Some artists are one way and then some artists are like "Oh I’m gonna have this type of track or that type of track." No, he’s been like that since day one. I’m excited because he gets to show that and he also gets to show another side of Oakland that hasn’t been shown in a very long time—through the Hyphy movement and all that stuff. But lyricism, like pure just straight driven lyricism, lyrics and deciphering bars. Not to say that doesn’t exist in Oakland at all, I’m just saying in the forefront, it’s been awhile since that has been showcased. And I think that’s the thing about GQ that’s exciting to me and also exciting to the people of Oakland—that he is just straight lyricism as if he is not even like an Oakland native. He may be an Oakland native in his stories, but as far as the way he is delivering it, it’s kind of hard to tell [where he’s from]. So that’s what I’m excited about.
DX: How do you approach when you’re crafting sound for an artist, or how does let’s say a GQ album differ from a Rapsody album?
9th Wonder: Just being able for an artist to tell the story. I look at producers like directors and artists like actors. A director makes sure the story line is right or even the setting is right. For us producers, settings to directors is beats for producers. And I have to make sure each artist has a way that they can tell their story on the right setting. And that’s how it’s different from every album—from a Rapsody album or a GQ album, that’s how it’s different. I have to make sure the setting is right for the person to tell their story. A Rapsody setting is gonna be totally different from a GQ setting if you look at them as actors, so that’s how I kind of divide it.
DX: So is it based off their style? Is it based off their content?
9th Wonder: It’s based off topic, it’s based off style, it’s based off demographic, who’s listening, you know what I mean? That’s the way it’s divided. It’s a real big psychological science behind creating albums like that you know as far as sequencing and setting the scene for a particular artist. Every time I come to [Los Angeles, California], it sounds cliché, I’ll listen to The Chronic. If you didn’t live here, listening to The Chronic while you’re here makes you feel Los Angeles or feel LA. You know where some of the beats the vibe [were derived from] because artists make music from vibes and surroundings. And it’s always good for Q to go home, spend some time in Oakland and come back to North Carolina because we can’t feel Oakland like he can but he can tell us about Oakland like no other. And I have to have a setting to give that. Same thing with Rapsody and talking about things in North Carolina. I have to have the right setting for it.
Read the rest of 9th Wonders Interview at Hip Hop DX.