Rapper Big Pooh
Rapper Big Pooh (born Thomas Jones III) is a solo rapper and member of the supergroup Little Brother, alongside rapper Phonte and producer 9th Wonder. The North Carolina native met Phonte and 9th Wonder while all three were attending North Carolina Central University, and upon realizing each others talent and passion for music, the decision to form a group was made. After seeing local success, an independent deal spawned the hit Atari 2600, which quickly garnered the group a hardcore following. In 2003, they release their critically acclaimed debut album The Listening. While working on the sophomore effort for Little Brother, the members took time to launch their solo careers as well. Big Pooh released his debut Sleepers in 2005. Months later, Little Brother's next album The Minstrel Show was released to high praise but low record sales. By 2006, 9th Wonder made the decision to leave the group, but Big Pooh and Phonte continued as Little Brother. The duo ultimately decided to leave their label home at Atlantic Records because of the commercial failure of The Minstrel Show, and went on to release two more albums before making the decision to disband in 2010. In the years following, Big Pooh continued his solo career, while also dabbling in sports commentary. The rapper, a self-professed sports fanatic, launched an NBA podcast and added NCAA commentary on popular basketball website, SLAM Online. To date, Rapper Big Pooh has released over a dozen solo projects.
9th Wonder (Patrick Denard Douthit) got his start in music as an up-and-coming producer from North Carolina. He first gained the attention of the music industry and the Internet alike with an unofficial remix of Nas' 2002 album God's Son, aptly named God's Stepson. With one project under his belt, 9th Wonder began working as the main producer for the group Little Brother, an endeavor that caught the ear of Jay-Z's studio engineer, Young Guru. 9th Wonder scored a major production credit on Jay-Z's 2003 release, the Black Album, resulting in him also lending his talents on Destiny Child's 2004 album, Destiny Fulfilled. With his career gaining momentum, he chose to leave Little Brother and refocus his energy on his individual legacy, creating Jamla Records under his own imprint Its a Wonderful World Music Group (IWWMG). After working on the soundtrack for the video game NBA Elite in 2009, along with J. Cole and E. Jones, he debuted his rapping alter-ego 9thmatic. Additionally producing for Jill Scott, Dilated Peoples, Murs, Jean Grae, Buckshot, Talib Kweli, OutKast's Big Boi, Anderson .Paak, and more, he also recruited his own production team for IWWMG. Later on in his career, 9th Wonder began teaching a hip-hop history class at North Carolina Central University, a foray that led him to co-teaching at Duke University and later Harvard University. From his extensive discography of solo and collaborative albums alike to his dedication to educating the youth, 9th Wonder's influence is one to be cherished, even landing him an exhibit at The National Museum of African American History and Culture at The Smithsonian.