(AllHipHop News) In February 2003, three young artists based in North Carolina released an album titled The Listening. As a result rappers Phonte and Big Pooh along with producer 9th Wonder captured the attention of the Hip Hop world including major figures in the game like Pete Rock, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Questlove.
Eleven years later the debut album of the group known as Little Brother is still considered by many rap fans as a classic work. Myspace connected with some of the key people who were instrumental in the making of the project. Big Pooh, manager Big Dho, Little Brother affiliate Chaundon, and DJ Pizzo all share insights into how The Listening came together.
Some excerpts from the article:
Big Dho: We all went to school together—me, 9th, Phonte and Pooh were history majors. I met 9th first. I had a radio show at Duke University called After The Smoke Clears and 9th would come through with beats. The urban department of our radio show used to do a battle called “Duel Of The Iron Mics” and that’s where I met Phonte at—he ended up winning a couple of battles. I used to have guys call up and they’d freestyle from home over the phone; I had one guy who used to call and freestyle from his cab.
Big Pooh: The story that is always told is how I wasn’t supposed to be on “Speed” but the other emcee, Median, didn’t turn up so I rapped. That was August 2001. After that we started working on more songs. When the fall ended we really went into “let’s-make-an-album” mode.
Chaundon: The way it was set up there wasn’t a recording booth, it was an apartment and the bedroom got turned into the studio and we’d all be in on the couch and then when they started to rap we’d have to shut up…
If you heard an a capella version of The Listening you’d hear us laughing in the background after the punchlines. It was just the essence of recording something timeless and all of us being in the room together, like eight or nine people. I can remember being in the moment and watching a classic album being created. We wouldn’t call it a classic when it was being created—and hindsight is 20/20—but the energy was just so high. ’Te and Pooh used to go to the car in the parking lot and write their songs and record them. It was that type of vibe, just beautiful.
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.
To read the entire “Oral History: The Making of Little Brother’s The Listening” visit Myspace.