11 June, 2003@12:00 am
Since Little Brother’s been likened to A Tribe Called Quest, comparing their Justus League crew to the legendary Native Tongues is no surprise. However, no current cliques are remotely close to being as forward thinking and melodic as the squad that boasted the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul as members. Despite unreasonable comparisons, Justus League is varied and formidable, anchored by underground supermen Little Brother. This plentiful double disc set serves as the ideal clan introduction, highlighted by 9th Wonder, Little Brother’s soul searchin’ production whiz who concocts 19 of the far reaching set’s 30 plus beats.
After checking this compilation, something slaps you in the dome like boos at a Dixie Chicks gig– 9th Wonder’s upper echelon skills. He’s one of indie rap’s most gifted and prolific producers, and his immense talent behind the boards often dwarfs those of other Justus League knob twisters. Check the melodic strings on “Drought of 2002 (Remix)” or the haunting, Blue Note -esque vocal sampling on “Give A Little Bit”, or try the crispy hi-hats of “Two Extremes” for just a few fantastic sounds laid down by a beatsmith that’s seems heavily influenced by ATCQ’s Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Pete Rock (the latter is an admitted Little Brother fan).
Among joints 9th Wonder didn’t create, Cesar Comanche solidly deconstructs the relentless pursuit of chedda on “Wrong Religion”. A chunky bassline and not much else back him, making the Khrysis formed track a bit hollow. Rebounding on “The Blah Blah”, Khrysis centers his sounds on looped flutes for exceptional results on a dome nodder with rhymes from the Away Team. Big Dho capably helms “You Don’t Know Me”, snagging a muffled loop from a recognizable soul track while Big Pooh leisurely unfolds lines like, “Rap Telly Savalas of this rap shit/they call me Kojak/Niggas tired of amateurs/Where the pros at?”
While Cesar Comanche and Median show promise, the man with the flyest handle (Edgar Allen Floe–could it be any doper?) impresses on cuts like “The Righteous Way To Go” where 9th once again hits paydirt through serene strings and a high pitched verse from a prominent soul crooner. This comp also boasts several Little Brother tunes, among them is the grin inducing
“Altitudes (Flyin’ High)”, where 9th Wonder’s spacious sounds simulate the ideal airline flight. “This is our flight/We’re manning it now,” raps Phonte on the cut. Even with loads of buddies joining them, Little Brother captains this mixtape.
Though this bustling compilation might contain some middling moments on the mic, 9th Wonder’s load of spacious, silky jams make a premium primer for this beatmaking talent and his notable pals.
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