I’ve told the story before and I’ll tell it again… one of the best Hip Hop concerts I’ve ever been to was Kanye West circa 2004, during the College Dropout Tour while he was performing in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was a relatively small, intimate venue in comparison to the arenas that he would sell out years later, but nonetheless that made it all the more special/memorable when thinking back on it today.
Truth be told I remember everything from that night and one thing I’ll never forget was the opening act, none other than the legendary Little Brother crew fresh off their monumental debut The Listening. Keep in mind this was before the internet took off and there was hardly any detailed promotion regarding opening acts, thus you can say I was more than hyped when the security guard on the boardwalk passed along the good word - and once it was confirmed best believe I entered that small theatre on a mission.
Phonte, Big Pooh, & 9th Wonder… damn near my favorite group of all time already… were performing Speed, Whatever You Say, Nighttime Maneuvers etc right in front of my eyes and I was sure to represent… yet the problem was I was only one of two people standing up in the venue. Myself and a young lady behind me who knew all the words, we LOVED us some Little Brother, yet 98% of the audience had no idea of who they were and they didn’t care. About 15 minutes into their set (complete with their patented two step routine for those who remember), they were essentially booed off the stage, met with chants of KANYE, KANYE, KANYE, and honestly never before had I been more embarrassed for Hip Hop.
Even still the concert with Kanye, John Legend, Consequence, etc was a good one but the highlight was North Carolina’s finest, whom soon went on to release the CLASSIC mixtape Chittlin Circuit 1.5 (Chittlin Circuit 1.5 appreciation post coming soon), followed by their major label debut on Atlantic entitled The Minstrel Show, another confirmed CLASSIC that the mainstream just wasn’t ready for. [Mind you Jay Z just released the video for The Story of OJ and everybody loves it, which goes to show that they don’t hear the message until they subscribe to who’s saying it]
Even still despite their cult following and the quality of their music Little Brother was never really the same after that, as 9th had already departed by the time of the Getback (another gem for the catalogue) and soon after the group officially split in which all three members amicably (for the most part) went their separate ways.
As time went on 9th continued to do numbers for the likes of Jay Z, Destiny’s Child, etc, and Phonte carried on the Foreign Exchange brand all the way to Grammy nominations (in addition to an excellent solo album that should not be overlooked or forgotten), thus leaving only one member out of the relative limelight - the other MC of the group who often played the background yet seemed to make all the right moves.
Rapper Big Pooh was no stranger to criticism during his days in LB, as to many he was the Malik B to Phonte’s Black Thought, yet all the same if you ask me that made the cypher complete. Let’s talk about Sincerely Yours, his opening verse on Slow It Down, or let’s even go back to that Macaroni record off the DJ Drama mixtape - 🔥🔥🔥 smh Pooh was COASTING on that instrumental 🔥🔥🔥 - and most notably let’s talk about that Sleepers album - which all things considered is still a Top 5 release from the Justus League catalogue period.
And sure enough more than a decade removed from all the history Rapper Pooh is still at it, back on his solo grind where throughout the years he’s collaborated with Pete Rock, Black Milk, De La Soul and many others - as well as numerous collaborations with the TDE camp early in the career of Kendrick Lamar. Meanwhile fast forward to 2017 and Pooh’s latest offering was released in the 4th quarter of last year, and by all accounts it’s clear that the Rapper still has a lot more to say.
Without further ado Everything 4 Sale is reviewed track by track below:
“Thomas… Thomas....” This is clearly not what he meant when he said “Ooh it feels good when you calling out my name, been Pooh for so long it doesn’t sound the same” 😂😂😂 but it’s a cool introduction nonetheless.
Big Trouble Little Child
“My momma say she tired, she done taking care of grown men, we all got a choice and she voice hers, grab a couple furs hit the back door watch me run into this world of sin, Martin had a dream, Huey had a vision, neither factored into my decision, no religion just a factor of some long division, out hustle any muscle to complete the mission” Honestly this is one of his best verses ever… from the LB era, the Sleepers era, from 03 to now this is some of the best penmanship I’ve ever heard from him, where immediately following the cinematic intro the next record carries on the same theme and is one of the toughest records on the tape. All fans of Hip Hop press play.
Potpourri (Dead Flowers) ft Chaundon
“Momma pray over food, I pray over money nothing funny when you dead broke” This one is reminiscent of that Third Party record I was always impartial to, yet nonetheless with Chaundon on the track this one’s still a decent cut overall. It’s been cool to see Pooh stay loyal to the Justus League throughout all the years, where they’ve remained steadily featured on all his projects staying true to their distinctive style like no other.
Corner Store Blues
“Gone until November read my statement in the Source, Unsigned, my family hype because they thinking it’s about time, funny thing about time it never waits, there’s no rewind button for mistakes, there’s no flight of stairs for escapes…” The grind is real and the most honorable Rapper articulates it well, where you can legitimately hear the pain in his voice as well as the strength of his words and will power, talking bout “****** can’t feed their kids off of props, pay attention, honorable mention but I want All American, el President who gon swear me in” 🔥🔥🔥
Buyer’s Remorse ft Blakk Soul
“If these walls could talk they would tell you fame kills, people want everybody to know em, I did it all for Hip Hop…” Raw classic production up and down this tape and on this one Pooh further illustrates his purpose, meanwhile am I crazy or does Blakk Soul out of Tacoma, Wa sound eerily similar to Darien Brockington on this… all the same it’s more good quality music and I’m here for it.
“Them boys on the corner like a father, figure I’d try an author, the game that we played no offers, just deals” smh 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 I miss the LB/JL era… but Pooh definitely still in his bag…
“This is memory of… you couldn’t dream it how you lived it, since a kid they all saw that you were gifted, fast track love to love you keep the winning coming, they provide you what you want, weed money women, down for anything, that’s on everything, you don’t have to worry, just like Mary sang, goin Pro that’s another level, it’s all coming at you fast flirtin with the Devil” classic Pooh in story mode and it gets no better. Pooh keeps getting better with time.
Ultimately if you lived through that LB era then you know, the vintage sounds of Phonte, Big Pooh, & 9th Wonder is an essential cloth to the fabric of Hip Hop history period. From 2003 onwards they tapped into an audience who hung on every single word, and as proclaimed in their documentary they would soon spawn an entire generation of young artists, and would essentially create an entire subgenre of Hip Hop in the process… all without getting any credit for it.
Yet as Pooh has eloquently stated throughout the years that’s simply the game, although I think it’s important that we preserve and celebrate that history so it’s not all but forgotten. Nonetheless if you remember one thing from this review than let it be this, Rapper Big Pooh is a Hip Hop legend and he deserves more praise for his contributions, thus let’s put more respect on his name and make sure the music lives forever as it should 💎💎💎