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Jun 20 - 9TH Wonder Ė Until Jay-Z come back LIL Wayne is the best rapper alive

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Jun 20 - 9TH Wonder Ė Until Jay-Z come back LIL Wayne is the best rapper alive

In the year 2007, itís safe to say that the South has risen again, but just north of the dirty dirty still lies the Southís best kept secret. Little did the world know that when 9th Wonder emerged on the scene four years ago, with a remix of Nasí Godís Son album, he would spark a trend and change the Hip-Hop production game forever.

Consistently staying true to his roots in old school Hip-Hop and R&B, 9th Wonder has mastered the perfect blend of producer and DJ, which has garnered him respect from everyone, from Erykah Badu to Jay-Z. We caught up with the low-key producer at his home in North Carolina and got the scoop on some of his silent activities, including his split from Little Brother and his emerging career as a college professor. It's Black Music Month in America and at AllHipHop.com, and 9th Wonder is one championing the cause.

AllHipHop.com: What was the first song or artist that inspired you to produce?

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

AllHipHop.com: Itís obvious that youíre 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 tr@nsformers is out now, I canít 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 Godís Stepson. Are you proud of the recognition that the South has been getting lately?

9th Wonder: Iím happy that Black people are making money, legally. Iím happy for that. Any Black man getting money, and as crooked as this industry is, and they ainít out hurting nobody, Iím all for that; but the quality and the sound of it, I ainít with none of that. I mean, Iím from the South, but I donít 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 isnít made for me and my generation, itís for these high school kids. But then I get concerned when 35 year-olds listen to the same stuff. And Iím analytical, so I start to look at that manís life. My dad didnít 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. Thatís whatís missing today.

Now everything has slowed down, drastically, and everything is two and three syllables. [Lil' Boosie's] ďWipe Me Down,Ē [Hurricane Chris'] ďAye Baby,Ē [MIMS'] ďThis Is Why Iím HotĒ... everything is just so simple. I ainít got no problem with it, it just ainít me.

And Iíve come to realize, as I grow older, that thereís more followers than leaders in this world. And I also feel likeÖyou know how you feel like youíre alone? Youíre in a party and all your peers are going crazy, and youíre standing around like ďI donít get it.Ē And you know they donít 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, ďI donít like it.Ē I also donít think itís carrying the tradition of Black music and teaching the kids. And not everyone is meant to teach, but just donít ask me to play it in a party. I just canít do it.

AllHipHop.com: People know youíre laid back, but they donít know youíre 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 donít get into the Hollywood stuff. For instance, me doing this interviewÖmost times you have to go through five people to get to the person. I think thatís ridiculous. People do that to seem elite. Iím no into that. Iím from the South and thatís 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.

Itís funny. People seem surprised that you arenít an a**hole. Like, people always say Iím so cool when they meet me, and Iím thinking, ďHow am I supposed to be?Ē But my family comes first, and I just canít see myself being Hollywood. Iíd 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 donít 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 donít know. Umm, Iíd 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, heís with G-Unit now.

9th Wonder: Yeah, he needs some guidance.

AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Youíve 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 donít feel pressure because for some people, music is all that they have. For some people, its like ďIf I donít do music, what the hell am I going to do?Ē Or like this imaginary building that people say theyíre in; they will do whatever it takes to be in the building. Like ďIím in the building!Ē What is that? Me, I deejay. I spin, so I will always have a job. I teach college, thatís another avenue, so I will always have a job.

I started below the radar in this ďundergroundĒ 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 thereís a difference between staying current and doing whatís hot. Like if you have dial up and you get a modem, thatís staying current. But having a [Dodge] Roadrunner and then going out and getting chromed out spinners, thatís doing whatís hot. Pharrell told me a while ago to always think six months ahead of the game, so when people are doing whatever theyíre doing, youíre always working on something new, on a different level. I just try to do that.

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

9th Wonder: I think the R. Kelly album is an abomination of Black people. The zoo song- if thatís 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 donít 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 doesnít 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 itís a problem when youíre 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 ďI love you.Ē Something is wrong with that. Iíd just rather appeal to my peers. If a 17 year-old likes me, itís because they like my music. Iím not going to pander my music to suit them. Big ups to Omarion, heís trying to do it. Heís trying to bring real music back for the younger generation. Itís hard getting a 33 year-old dude to buy Omarionís album. But the album is hot.


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