9th Wonder & The True School Movement: True Masters

Between the old and the new, there is the true. “True School” has been a loosely defined term for Hip-Hop with the purest intentions, Hip-Hop that has nothing to be ashamed about. Brooklyn MC J-Live wrote a song about it called “True School Anthem” a few years back, Grandmaster Caz and Mele Mel talk about it in their frequent lectures, and now, North Carolina super-producer 9th Wonder has labeled it a movement.

In March 2006, 9th Wonder and six friends decided it was time to fill a void in the mass media. The music, films, and culture that defined a crucial era in modern Black culture were being neglected, if not discarded.

The True School Corporation was created to celebrate this incredibly innovative, influential and fun time. The main feature of the True School Movement is the traveling party. 9th Wonder and his partners travel to different cities to provide memorable music and images from the forgotten era spanning 1980-1995. Classic Hip-Hop party songs and R&B jams are played all night, as cares and worries are set aside during this journey to before the bling, before the beefs, and before the overpowering industry system…

9th Wonder and his True School Corporation of Josson, Jay Clip, DJ Cuzzin B, Vince Victory, Cesar Camanche, and T. Reaves spoke to AllHipHop.com about what this really means. As news breaks of 9th’s departure from Little Brother, could efforts like these be the new devotion of his time? With True School parties popping up everywhere – including the Super Bowl XLI hoopla, the masses have plenty of opportunities to get the truth.

AllHipHop.com: Why do you guys feel it is necessary to have a movement?

Josson: We need to do this because there is a lack of [music] hitting our age range, everyone who is in our age range is forgotten, like we never existed. We are educated, working professionals, but we still reminisce about the Hip-Hop we grew up listening to.

AllHipHop.com: My one reservation about these parties is that not enough current music is played, even music that is reminiscent of classic Hip-Hop is left out of the mix, why is that?

Cuzzin-B: Because you can get that at anytime, this is something special. Plus, the catalog is so big that we can play all the ‘90s music, and not miss a beat.

9th Wonder: We strongly believe that true school music is not for everybody, just as Tom Joyner is not for everybody. If you can’t [vibe] to Method Man’s “Bring the Pain” and then a Gina Thompson record, then this is not for you, and that’s fine with me. I would rather have a million people dancing hard, instead of three million hardly dancing. This is music for those in the 25-35 [year old] age range.

The True School Movement is not about dissing any generation. If you enjoy Tom Joyner, that’s fine. If you want to walk it out [like Unk], that’s cool also. We just want our share. We are just saying what about us. It’s a huge gap between the Tom Joyner generation and what’s being played on the radio now. It’s like someone took 15 years of music and culture and snatched it out. We contributed a lot of this culture you see now.

AllHipHop.com: What do you think of VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors show?

9th Wonder: The Hip-Hop Honors is a step in the Right direction, but it’s like Black History Month; it’s not enough. If you live in Salsburg, North Carolina, you only get to see that sort of Hip-Hop repped once a year. A True School type of party may be common in New York, but those who don’t live in major cities are not as lucky.

I met cats from everywhere when I was in college. It was a special time period in music, when we all knew and liked the same music. Which means, you can do a true school music set anywhere. I can play Pharcyde anywhere and it will get run.

AllHipHop.com: Explain the “True Community” part of The True School Corporation…

Danny Perry: True Community will answer the question “How can grown men give back to the community?” We want to be a resource [to the lost children].

Vince: We want to step up and show kids they have other options, sort of like what shows like The Cosby Show and A Different World did. There is a statistic out there that states enrollment at historically Black colleges and universities quadrupled while the show A Different World was on the air.

Bobby: A high percentage of the True School founders are college graduates. When we were growing up, it was expected that you go to college. You were looked at as strange if you did not plan on attending college after high school.

AllHipHop.com: Besides Monie Love, who currently co-hosts your traveling parties, what other artist would you like to work with on this event?

Vince: We would like to reach out to The Real Roxanne, DMC, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Jazzy Jeff. We have already had Pete Rock, Just Blaze, [Christopher] “Play” Martin of Kid-N-Play, and Dres from Black Sheep participate in a True School party.

AllHipHop.com: Would you consider making a true school mixtape?

Cuzzin B: There are already those style of mixtapes on the market, we would rather stick to doing parties.

Josson: Nothing beats going to a true school party, there’s nothing like that experience, it is a chance to go to an old house party. It was all about enjoying yourself.

AllHipHop.com: Are there any other developments that you would like to share?

9th Wonder: I would like to do a compilation album entitled Heroes. The album would have music from artists like MC Lyte, New Edition, Slick Rick, High-Five and others, because if you really think about it, these are our [musical] heroes.

Vince: We plan on working on documentaries, pushing Pro-Black thinking, that hasn’t really been done since School Daze.

Josson: Coming in 2007, True School apparel.

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