In an email to DJ Booth, foundational hip-hop group Little Brother has announced their return after a hiatus that lasted nearly a decade. While the group won’t continue with its original three-man lineup, Phonte and Big Pooh have decided to reunite as a duo with producer 9th Wonder’s blessing.
The trio originally reunited last summer at the Art Of Cool festival, filling in for a last-minute cancelation. From that performance, which spurred both internal conversation and external speculation about a possible comeback, the iconic group decided to reconnect to release new music and tour once again after officially breaking up in 2010.
“I’m excited to announce that my brother Big Pooh and I are back at work,” Phonte wrote. “New Little Brother music and a tour are coming soon. After conversations with 9th Wonder following our Art of Cool reunion show in Durham last year, the three of us mutually agreed it was best for LB to continue as a duo, as Pooh and I have officially been Little Brother since 2007.”
This will likely constitute big news for hip-hop heads the world over, including some of your favorite rappers. It can likely be said with little to no exaggeration that Little Brother is essentially the basis for the entire rap game as we know it today. The group’s 2003 debut album, The Listening, was a part of a soul-centric revival of the dynamic that defined seminal groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, and inspired dozens of similar groups. Little Brother was instrumental in the careers of both Kanye West and Drake, who guested on songs with the group’s original lineup early in both their rises; Kanye on “I See Now” from 2005’s The Chittlin Circuit: The Mixtape, while Drake featured Phonte and Pooh on “Don’t You Have A Man” and 9th and Phonte on “Think Good Thoughts” from his 2008 mixtape, Comeback Season.
Although it’s been some time since then, both rappers have maintained their standing in hip-hop, with Phonte releasing his sophomore album No News Is Good News last year and Big Pooh dropping Home Sweet Home in 2015. Erstwhile member 9th Wonder, of course, has become one of hip-hop’s premier producers, landing placements with Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, his own Grammy-nominated artist Rapsody, and more. The group’s only confirmed appearance so far is Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 5 through September 7.