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9th Wonder Story of The Struggle
9th is telling his story about his start in the music industry and some of the biggest projects he’s worked on, from Little Brother to Jay-Z to what he’s doing now. ‘Story of The Struggle’ by 9th Wonder: (Some of the stories hit home)

#StoryOfTheStruggle………..


I just realized a lot of folk I went to elementary, middle, high
school, and even college don’t know the “story” of how all of
this “9th Wonder” stuff came about…it’s like I got missing and them
BAM…..lol….so today…I’m gonna give you a few fun facts from….”The
Struggle”….THIS IS NOT THE WHOLE STORY…..but you get the idea……………lol….#LaughingbutnotreallyLaughing….
#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So….’round 1998 during the time I met Phonte and Pooh at NCCU….I started
making beats in my homie LeRoy Franky McDowell’s room at NC State…308
North Hall…on a computer…..from 25 cent records up the street……

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
After recording a few songs with Phonte, Pooh, Chaundon, Cesar Comanche,
Edgar Allen Floe, Omotade, Will Brown, Deji…and some MORE cats on a
program called “Cool Edit Pro…” I decided to DROP OUT of school in the
spring of 2000….I was stil; working at Holiday Inn Worldwide reservations
in Cary (Whaddup Jonathan Fulwood, Cherry Marley Champion…)…but Ma
Dukes not HAPPY about the drop out….lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle…My son Xavier Douthit was 5 years old…who
lived with his mom…(I wasn’t the best dad….no man that age is FULLY
ready for a son) but I did the best I could…..And my first girl was born IN
Winston-Salem at Forsyth Hospital (I had to make sure she was born in
Winston)….So I quit Holiday Inn Worldwide and moved BACK to Winston in
November of 2000….Me…my fiancee, my newborn baby……

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So……
We stayed in MIDWAY, NC…in my parents old house….(a lot of my friends
and fam know that house…lol)….I tried to get a job at RJR like pops, but
no love…I tried to get a job at the Holiday Inn Select on University…NO
love…lol….so the only job I got was APAC in High Point, being a call rep
for UPS….(you would get me on the phone when you needed your package
tracked…) lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
After 8 months tho…after going back and forth to WXDU Radio station
at DUKE EVERY Friday to play beats on the air with Deejay Samps in
June of 2001…I couldn’t TAKE W-S anymore…not to live..(LOVE my
hometown, but I had to GET OUT)…at the time I was pushing a 95 Buick
Park Avenue we called “the mothership”….lol…..so I look at my woman and
said…”Woman….I can’t stay here…we are going back to Raleigh…”…so I
packed up the mothership with Diapers and bags and bounced….lol…I didn’t
even call the UPS call center…lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So for 3 weeks I stayed with Diesha Banner , Trice Banner , and Candice
Floyd over in Trinity Apts…..lol…..on the floor….broke as hell…still making
beats….but broke……then left there and went to stay with Phonte for about
2 weeks….until I finally ended up with Cesar Comanche over in Mission
Valley….my fiancee came to me and said…”Look here….I got a job back in
my hometown….I’m out…and I’m taking the baby with me…..so whatever
you gonna do with the music….make it happen…I will BE BACK up here in a
year….”….Oh….the pressure……

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So it’s August 2001….the woman has left…cause she got a REAL job….
She took the mothership too…lol…
So….I got me a job at the PLANET SMOOTHIE on Hillsborough Street beside
the Brueggers bagel….and Cesar Comanche was the manager…lol…..so
I slept on Comanche’s floor, and the money he made from his debut
album “Wooden Nickels”, we took that money and went to the Best Buy on
Glenwood Ave…(the old one)……and bought a COMPAC PRESARIO…lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
During the same time….Phonte had just graduated from NCCU with
Honors….Rapper Big Pooh was in Charlotte….Big Dho (who would end up
being our manager) was in Durham….(Pooh asked Tay to be in a group
earlier that year…and Tay said no..lol)…….So Phonte was working at Blue
Cross…(we called it “The Cross”)….and I came to him with the idea of a
song called “Speed”….where he would talk about working and trying to
make music at the same time…..We wanted our homie MEDIAN on the joint
with us….I made the beat for it….but MEDIAN was nowhere to be found (in
MEDIAN fashion)…so Big Pooh came up from Charlotte and jumped on the
song….
LITTLE BROTHER “SPEED” PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1e1wEGGQFg

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
After we recorded “Speed”…..I looked at them and said….lets be a
group…..we already had a little group at one time called “G.I.M.M.E.”(don’t
ask)…..but this song was special….so…after listening to it 18 times in
the car(that’s how we tested the jams)……We came up with name “Little
Brother” about a week later…..it was August 31, 2001…..

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
Now….around this time I had completely separated myself from the college
friends. It was tough to be a drop out…especially when everyone around
me had degrees, “Real Jobs”, and such…my close knit friends had apts
and homes and such…living life as a grown up…..as for me…I was trading
Smoothies with Brueggers for free bagels everyday just to eat…..and I
REFUSED to call home…..or anyone….

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So around Sept of 2001 we recruited Big Dho as our manager and recorded
a song called “Away From Me” about 3am…on Sept 11, 2001…..a few hours
later….the World Trade Center fell……
LITTLE BROTHER – “AWAY FROM ME” – PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_rSwXhtmH8
You can hear my baby Jordan “squeal” and “talk” at the 3:59 mark of the
song……..Phonte shouted out his son Dylan as well…Jordan and Dylan was
born a month apart……

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
Around October 2001 we were about 5 songs deep….I moved in with one
of my best friends Michael Burvick, and slept on his love seat…lol….and
rode the Wolf Line to work…..still swapping smoothies for bagels…….STILL
making beats…so the homies Annanora Short and Leah Brown came down to
visit us, and we recorded 3 songs in ONE day…The Yo-Yo, The Way You Do
it, and Home….in the middle of recording…Phonte went over to NC State and
won a mc battle…lol……
Annanora “Nora Short” is featured on “The Yo-Yo”……as well as “The Way
You Do It” and “Home”….
LITTLE BROTHER – “THE YO-YO” PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCGV4MV5J2M

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
Still recording….still smoothie’in….lol….
By THIS time, myself, Cesar Comanche, Phonte, Dho, Pooh, Floe,
Legacy Harper, Burvick, LeRoy Franky McDowell, Patrick Williams, Sean
Boog, Chaundon, and Median formed a super crew called….”The Justus
League”……and was doing songs around the area…..while a lot of other cats
was doing their style of hip-hop…we was known as the “Back Pack” kids….

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
So……..
Around Nov 2001…I left Burvick’s crib because I got the hook up on a
playstation 2 and my homie DJ MC wanted to play Madden….LOL….so
I took my playstation over his crib and he said “look man I got an extra
room upstairs with a bed…you can stay here and help with rent”……….so
I moved in with DJ MC….I stopped working at the smoothie and went for
BROKE….because my first check was 78.00…lol…I was like NAH man….no
can do…..we were doing shows around the area (The Hideaway, Humble Pie, Kings, and Go Studios) so we were about 9 songs deep in the Little Brother album….and
10 songs in to Legacy’s album called “Project Mayhem”…..mind you….NO
ONE HAS BEEN PAID YET…FOR ANY MUSIC….NONE…..

#StoryOfTheStruggle…
Way deep in child support debt for my son…(yep…I was)….and no
money…..
I was staying on CREST Road….where I met Joe Scudda, my homie
Infinite, Damon Uneek Washington, and then Khrysis Beatz moved in….so
it was 5 of us in a 2 bedroom…..STRUGGLING….Scudda had a van called
the JUMPOUT….lol….cause we used to pull up to MC’s parties and JUMP
OUT..lol….
So I found out Scudda could rhyme…and we snuck over to Cesar
Comanche’s Missie Ann Studios (Named after his sister)….and
recorded “Sumthin for You”…. I chopped up a Melba Moore record for the
beat……..Dec 2001…
JOE SCUDDA – “SUMTHIN FOR YOU” PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnBwcLgB1Dk

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So….
It’s 2002 now…early 2002….Kaze, K. Hill, Spectac, Nicholas Richardson
Boyd and few other cats had been thru to check beats…..I was selling beats
for 50 dollars by now……I wasn’t selling a lot…but some days I made 300
dollars….

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So…..
Michael Burvick came up with “THE BEAT RAFFLE”…..lol…
The Beat Raffle was a thing I did at WXDU radio…where i would play 3
beats on the air…and you could come and put your name in a BOX with a
dollar….if you wanted your name in the box 20 times you put 20 dollars…so
I would Raffle off beats…lol…
You would get the BEAT, and I would record it……for a dollar….lol…I ate
that way too….

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So by Spring of 2002…we finished “Our Debuuuuuuuuut Alllllbuuuuuuuum”
Little Brother – The Listening…we had a Listening Session for it….at Crest
Road…lol…a few other cats came through later came through and listened
to it, and said it was “some back pack sh*t that wouldn’t work”……….but
at that time we didn’t care….we knew we had something dope on our
hands……my man Mic El and Shaw Hargett came through and listened to
some of our earlier stuff….and said we HAD something…..

#StoryOfTheStruggle
THEN…..THEEEEEEN…See…at that time…for alot of us….we HATED the
radio…our influence was RAWKUS Records (Mos Def, Kweli, Pharoahe,
Hi-Tek)….and we got ALL of our music from the Internet….way back in
2002….so..Patrick Williams knew this guy named Brainchild…who was a
student at Ball State at the time….Pat gave him 2 of our songs…(AGAINST
our will)….and Brainchild played them on air at Ball State…..he THEN
put them on a site called “The Jawn” which was connected to a larger site
called… Okayplayer, the main site for The Roots D’Angelo, and everyone
in that vein of music…….Much to our chagrin of putting music on the
net……the post read…
“New music from a group from NC called Little Brother…sounds like Slum
Village but not really….here are 2 songs…..check them out…….”One of the
songs was from “Ouuuuur debuuuut alllbummmm” called “Whatever You
Say”
The next day…that post had 300 replies..
LITTLE BROTHER “WHATEVER YOU SAY” PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSVUPMccM8c

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So……we got FANS on the internet……fans on the internet? Who DOES
THAT? We had NO clue…..I did a few remixes of songs where I would take
the words from a song an put a new beat I made under it……one of my first
ones was “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” by Amerie……
AMERIE – “WHY DON’T WE FALL IN LOVE” (REMIX) ft. JOE SCUDDA – PRODUCED BY 9TH WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asIV-aUQmBQ
STILL broke…….but at this time….making fans….all of us….on the NET…..

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So ok….
Brainchild from Ball State used to go record diggin’ with Ahmir Khalib
Thompson (QuestLove). He let QuestLove hear our music…….and we had no
clue….until Brain let us know……So……The Roots had a spring concert at
Duke in the Spring of 2002…so Tay, Pooh, and I went out to the show….and
at end of every show.. The Roots would sign autographs….We walked
up to Quest and gave him our CD with 8 songs on it from our debuuuut
albuuuuuum…….
So…..he started to walk away and we said…”HEY MAN WE ARE LITTLE
BROTHER…”
He turned around and said…”OH ok!….Yall are dope…Brainchild turned me
on….Ima check this out….”
They left…
A few days later….this was the post on Okayplayer…
“Little Brother: MAN…I haven’t heard anything this refreshing since
Slum Village Fantastic Volume 1……This is my OFFICIAL Little Brother
Endorsement”…
BALL GAME……
But I was still broke…lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle
See….one thing about Ahmir Khalib Thompson….if he likes something….he’s
gonna TELL somebody about it….
So…..that was the time…people started calling the house….
“Yo 9th!!!! Telephone…..”
“Hello?”
“Hey man whassup”
“Yo who is this?”
“It’s Mr. Walt…from the Beatminerz and Black Moon”
Next day..
“Yo P!!! Telephone”…
“Hello?”
“May I speak to 9th?”
“This is he”
“Ayo man this is Musiq SoulChild…just wanted to tell you your sh*t is DOPE”
Pee ran down my leg…lol……….all these folk calling the CRIB???? BRUH…
But I was still broke…..lol

#StoryOfTheStruggle
My man Koren Robinson…..
He played for NC State…then got drafted to the league…
So the summer of 2002 was the come up…a little bit…
Koren had a cousin who rhymed and needed beats…so he came to me and
said “man I’m gonna pay you 300 dollars a beat”
WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
He bought like 4 to 5 beats at a TIME……
No more same pants for a month…
No more busted timbs…
No more 2 for 2′s from McDonalds…
BRUH….GROCERIES…….like GROCERIES…..man…..

#StoryOfTheStruggle
Summer 2002….
We got a call from Shaw Hargett, who knew a guy from the west coast
named Ian Davis…..who was connected to a label called ABB Records…..
They wanted to sign us to a single deal…..but we had a ALBUM done…in the
can…..
So…they signed us…..
Our signing advance was…
2000.00
Split 4 ways…..(the manager had to get his cut)
so MY cut was…
around 600.00
I took that money…and put it on a deposit for an apt……so my fiancee and
now almost 2 year old could move back to Raleigh…….
The Deposit was 500.00…
That left me with 100.00
By that time…it was December 2002….during an ice storm…

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So Little Brother was signed to ABB Records from OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA…
They loved us more in California than they did here…
So….to back track…
Mind you during this WHOLE time I hadn’t let my ONLY brother Charles
Douthit hear ANYTHING…until the album was done and we were
signed….sometimes you can’t make promises to family about a music career,
because they won’t understand……but…I gave my brother a copy of the CD
and told him to go to the car….and listen…
45 minutes later he came back…
“Man….who is this?”
“That’s me and the homies….we got a group”
“What group?”
“Little Brother”
“Whos rappin?”
“Phonte and Pooh”
“Who’s making the beats”
“Me”
“What!?!?!?”

#StoryOfTheStruggle
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving….2002…
Phonte called me….and said….
“Look nigga…WHAT are You doing…..I gotta click over on 3 way because you
gotta hear something…”
He clicked over and started to play his voicemail…
“Yo…I’m looking for any members of Little Brother….Its the soul brother
PETE ROCK…..can yall call me back….”
Ok….lets stop there for ONE second….
PETE…ROCK…..
PETE…….ROCK….
ANYBODY that knows me…..ANYBODY that CLAIM to know me…KNOWS that
They Reminisce Over You is my NUMBER ONE SONG……produced by PETE
ROCK….
and he CALLED looking for us…
Bruh….
#PeeRanDownMyLegAgain….
Funny thing his…Phonte said he heard that voicemail whilst folding polo
shirts at the Hudson Belk at SouthPoint…
After that..Tay stop folding shirts and walked out…..never to return…
SO…
PETE ROCK called me on THANKSGIVING…beatboxing my beats….
He invited us to New York to his house…and I slept on the basement
floor…beside his Illmatic Plaque…….

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So at the same time…..
Tay met a guy online on Okayplayer from The Netherlands…..who made a
beat for a song some of you know called “Light it Up” by Little Brother….
That guy was Nicolay Rook….
shortly after….. The Foreign Exchange was born…….
LITTLE BROTHER – “LIGHT IT UP” PRODUCED BY NICOLAY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyvcmC5HGnA

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So I got a lil’ apt….
So in January 2003……Shaw Hargett came by the crib and gave me the Nas
Acapellas to “God’s Son”
I remixed it in a weekend……..
God’s Stepson was born shortly after….

#StoryOfTheStruggle
My fiancee worked at Durham Mental Health….but I stayed home and made
beats and sold them through the mail; 3 beats for 750.00……
So in February of 2002 my homey Mervin A. Jenkins #Spectac who as a
Assistant Principal at Chapel Hill High School had a homey come down to NC
named Theron Smith…….who was a videographer……Spectac’s manager
Jonathan D. McLeod, myself, Spectac…and Theron was hanging out….and
Theron said…”man your beats is dope…….if I know of anyone looking for
beats I will let you now……..”
I said…cool…
Me and Mervin Jenkins had a jam called…”That’s Us”…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBnVRuwjGxA

#StoryOfTheStruggle
Little Brother made “The Source Magazine” in March 2003 in the Under The
Radar Section……
So in The Summer of 2003 we attended a music conference called “SMES”
where we met a guy in the lobby….named Kanye West…..
“Whasup man I heard of yall…..yall are dope”…
So we left the Marriott Hotel in Durham where the conference was…and went
to Big Dho’s studio “The Chopp Shop” and recorded…..”I See Now…..”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq6fPAKcNLs

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So……..also in June 2003
Masta Ace from the JUICE CREW was coming to town….to Lincoln Theater…
I got word to meet up with him at soundcheck to give him beats…
A month later…..he dropped this….
And paid me 2000.00 dollars….
Masta Ace – Good Ol’ Love…..Produced by 9th Wonder
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUQgm3qRPio

#StoryOfTheStruggle
So……ok…..
That guy Theron …”T-Smith”….was selected to be on the video team for the
Jay-Z Movie “Fade To Black….”
Jonathan D. McLeod called me and said..
“Ayo..Jay-Z wanna hear beats”…….
I said…”WHAT???”
“Yeah man…..Theron is about to call you……”
So T called and said…”hey man you remember when I said if someone
wanted to hear beats? I’m sitting beside Young Guru…he wants to talk to
you”
WHAT!?!?!?
For those that don’t know…Young Guru was the sound engineer for Jay-Z
from The BluePrint all the way up to BluePrint 3…
Young Guru gets on the phone…
“WHADDUP man….I got the Listening….I bought it from Phat Beats on 6th
ave…come up and play beats for Jay……”
WHAT!?!?!?!
#MorePeePee
#StoryOfTheStruggle
So….We went to NY….
Sept 20th 2003….
We went to see Ahmir Khalib Thompson during that day in Philly, and came
back to NY so I could meet Jay-Z…
Ok….so according to the naysayers that I made underground, backpack
beats on a computer….I’m not supposed to be meeting Jay-Z in an hr…..
So me and Dunny walk in Baseline Studios…..NYC…Young Guru met us in
the front by the pool tables…….and he led us back to the studio room where
Jay and B was….(yes…they were together in 2003…)He said…..”Ayo
man…you come highly recommended by Ahmir Khalib Thompson….lemme
hear what you got…”
I played him 29 beats……I had 100 beats ON my
person……ON…MY…PERSON….
He said…”you got some heat…..play number 3,6, 7,9, 10, 14, 18, and 20,
again…”
He said…”MAN…I wish I woulda found you EARLIER….”
He said…”can I take this BEAT CD home?” (IN HIS MAYBACH…in 2003…and
yes…the roof is translucent….)
Bey said…”I love you stuff”
He then said…”what are you doing on monday……”
“What I NEED to be doing on MONDAY Jay?”
“Come back here so we can work…..”
I came back to Baseline on Monday….I called Michael Burvick early
SUNDAY…he hung up the phone DROVE up to NY….(he played Jay in
Madden and got bashed lol)
We recorded “Threat” on September 22, 2003…he said my name on track…
A single tear ran down my face…..lol
I walked UP to midtown and found me a lawyer..THAT day…by the name of
Nick Sciorra…….
Nick called me in October and told me I made the album…
I called mama……she said I knew you had it in you…
I called my brother…he bout broke his phone..
I cried for an hr….
JAY-Z “THREAT” PRODUCED by 9th WONDER
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxQIKmtX5k8

#StoryOfTheStruggle
I called my good friend Murs, because he came to me and wanted to do an
album…..and told him about Jay-Z
He said “so I guess we ain’t doing the album now…”
I said….”Yes we are homie…”
He came to NC Nov 2003….and we did our first of 5 album………Murs 3:16…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL9STSJEUQw

#StoryOfTheStruggle
The rest is history…
The Jay-Z beat was beat number 1200 for me….
1199 beats was made before I got to Jay…..I was only PAID for about 30 of
them…
So those of you who think this came overnight…think it was HANDED
to me…think that i didn’t WORK and STARVE to get here…think I’m
just supposed to HAND you what I built because we are from the same
hometown, state, I knew you in school, we played spades together….we
played BALL together…..or WHATEVER we did….you must rethink
your position….for 5 STRAIGHT years I was broke as a JOKE….not
eating…homeless basically…in crazy debt…..and had to basically START
over……..I thank the ones that helped me during my climb…I don’t owe
anyone else shit….
I don’t do excuses….there is no way….if you want it…you HAVE to go get
it…no matter what it is…..no matter what people may say…and being from
NC is NOT AND EXCUSE……being from the Tre is NOT an excuse…….
It’s 11 years later….and its still a grind…#ThereIsNoFinishLine
I left ALOT of details out…..so…..
Maybe I will write a book…..lol


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