Sunday, 28 September 2008

Little Brother - ...and justus for all (Hall of Justus 2007/8)

This is the first of five projects coming out by Little Brother's Phonte and Big Pooh. Rumours persist that there may never be another proper Little Brother album again so we will have to make-do with this effort. And Justus For All is the official newly mastered version of their mixtape with Mick Boogie, now billed as a full length album it also features 5 brand new and exclusive tracks. While the success for Get Back was very high, reviews and reactions were generally mixed, and hopefully the new, DJ-free version of Justus will put the group back on the right track with longtime fans and the mainstream fans that haven't caught on yet.

While 9th Wonder's contributions are minimal, the eclectic production meshes perfectly as Phonte and Big Pooh spit over top-notch smooth, funky, jazzy and soulful beats from Nottz, RJD2, DJ Babu, Oddisee, Khrysis, and DJ Spinna. To top it off, an all-star cast of underground MCs (Kardinal Offishall, Cormega, Skillz, Chaundon, Oh No) are on hand to spit guest verses. Every track boasts banging beats and passionate intricate wordplay. And Justus For All is another seemingly effortless classic from Little Brother, proof positive that the North Carolina duo remains one of hip-hop's most capable acts.

While the future of the group remains unclear, they have talent in abundance. It's a shame that they are victims of a lack of record sales. While The Minstrel Show and Get Back were both critical successes and underground classics, the mainstream success seemed to elude the band much to their and their record company's frustration. Whether the seeming implosion in the band's ranks is due to this is down to debate. Which is a shame as the Justus League is sitting on a hotbed of talent, and with Big Pooh and Phonte as the torchbearers of independent spirit, it would be a shame for them to hang up their Little Brother membership cards just yet. The US underground has practically disappeared so the Justus League is needed more than ever. And when you've got songs like the urgent, relevant 'Do it to Death' and the sombre passionate 'The Pressure' why would you hang up the spandex? Justus League forever. Little Brother forever. They are one of the most talented bands around, so if you like them, buy their albums, for their sake, so they know they're appreciated and keep on making those sweet sweet tunes.

There's no justice. Just us.

Little Brother perform 'Life of the Party' at Jazz Cafe (I was there!) - a remix of which appears on this new release:

Little Brother web

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