9th Wonderful

I still got the hunger pains from my apartment / when me and 9th was broke, splitting cans of StarKist
— Phonte, "The Animal"

Hip-hop producer 9th Wonder's name has been back in music news lately, and for good reason - he produced "DUCKWORTH" off Kendrick Lamar's latest album.

While I had heard Jay Z's "Threat" (2003) and Destiny's Child's "Girl" (early 2005), I did not know who 9th was until the summer of 2005. That summer, I discovered Masta Ace's 'A Long Hot Summer' (2004), with the 9th-produced "Good Ol' Love" being a standout song. I was also starting to listen to Little Brother, a trio with him, Phonte, and Rapper Big Pooh.

I was sold, and instantly became a fan. By spring 2006, 9th was one of my favorite producers, with Murs's '3:16 - The 9th Edition' and Little Brother's 'The Minstrel Show' looming particularly large in my listening rotation. (As well as 'God's Stepson', his work with Nas vocal tracks from 2002's 'God's Son.')

Famous for making beats on FruityLoops software and a Macbook (there is a great story of him chopping the R. Kelly sample for "Threat" in the studio with Jay Z, just moments after being introduced), 9th's signature style consists of soulful sample chops, boombap drum patterns and smooth bass lines.

As I've gotten older, I haven't kept up with 9th's work as much as when I was a teenager, but I was happy to see that he did Kendrick's "DUCKWORTH" - and happy that people took notice. 

TIDAL users, check out this new playlist, curated by 9th, as an excellent survey of his production work: 

- JG

^ Tweet from an up-and-coming Kendrick to 9th in 2010.