25 February, 2014@11:25 am
Eleven years after the original release of Little Brother’s seminal debut, The Listening, MySpace has done a retrospective article on the album, which includes interviews with Rapper Big Pooh, Chaundon, and yours truly. Check it out here. Peep a snippet below.
DJ Pizzo: The first time I heard of Little Brother was when Phonte sent us a demo of kinda like parody songs, like he was making fun of hip-hop tracks at the time so there would be the thug song—like “I thug, I thug, I thug!”—‘cause that was so big at the time. It was a burned CD with all text written on it. We used to get demos all the time though—like literally five a day—so I threw it in this crate with the intention to listen to it later. But I guess the demo did fall into the hands of Beni B at ABB Records.
We’d done really well with Dilated Peoples releases on the site and Beni called me and told me he wanted to do this promotion where if you bought The Listening you’d get this free 7-inch which was “Atari 2600,” a song that was on the initial parody rap CD. It was Phonte doing a RZA impression and this whole monologue about how the Atari was better than the new PlayStation. I didn’t really know Little Brother’s music at the time but I knew ABB was a trusted brand. Then once we heard the album we thought it was great.
Chaundon: I realized how The Listening was taking off once they started releasing a couple of singles on OkayPlayer and watching ?uestlove say extraordinary things about the album and hearing Pete Rock calling Phonte’s house and leaving a message on the phone saying he heard the album and it’s dope. Once you have people of the status that you respect that are buying into it, I knew the people will buy into it. These are people who’ve already made classic records so they know.
DJ Pizzo: At the time I was really tight with ?uestlove and we were always putting each other onto stuff, like at the beginning I gave him RJD2. I know that once he got behind The Listening, it kinda really took off.
Big Dho: The thing that I remember was when I started seeing Pete Rock called them or we went to Pete Rock’s house, just seeing them recognized by the OGs and the legends. Those have ended up being people they’ve made music with. I was on the outside looking in, but seeing the looks on their faces and how they talked about it, it’s a real great thing to see.
DJ Pizzo: At HipHopSite we wanted to make wood plaques for any time we sold something that made over 1,000 copies. Most times stuff would sell 100 copies, or for something really popular like on Def Jux or Stones Throw you could order 500 no problem. Little Brother was approaching 900, and one of the items that came after that was 9th Wonder’s God’s Stepson and I directly remember giving that to ?uestlove. Because we did so well with The Listening we struck a deal with 9th to press it up and that thing really just sold forever and ever. We had it exclusively so it was one of the biggest releases we ever had.
We never actually made the wooden plaques but The Listening definitely broke 1,000 copies on the site. For sales for us, that album was there with Madvillainy, RJD2’s second album, and Eminem’s Slim Shady EP.
Big Pooh: The reaction was super flattering, man. People you grew up listening to were in turn praising what you were doing. We were upcoming artists and we were hearing artists that at one point or another were at the top of the game saying these things about our music. It was a priceless moment.
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