Little Brother Has Problems

by Winston "Stone" Ford


I was gonna blog about this yesterday, but it seems noz at XXL beat me to it. If you don’t know, Little Brother played a show in Fayetteville, North Carolina, opening up for Three Six Mafia, Rick Ross, Young Dro, Young Joc, Dem Franchise Boyz and the The Musicianz. From the get go you know that something ain’t right with this picture.

In other words, they knew what they were getting into, so why in the hell are they so surprised?

Of course, Phonte tries to blame the audience for the rather cold reaction that they got in The Fay (are they still calling it The Fay anymore?). Noz thinks its the fact that since Little Brother tries to be all high and mighty, their pretentiousness does not help to win them fans. Sure, that may be true, but it misses the obvious.

WHOEVER SET THIS SHOW UP FOR LITTLE BROTHER IS ON CRACK. Whether its the management, the record company, a promoter, or the band themselves. I could see a LB/Outkast set, or a LB/Roots set. Even a LB/Outkast/Three 6 Mafia set might go over well. But music is marketing people, and LB and the aforementioned “Dirty South,” artist fall into different markets. The Roots and Common would probably get the same reaction. It just boils down to different types of music, and different people. It’s like Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five getting booed when they opened up for the Clash. Sure The Clash liked New York hip-hop, but that doesnt mean ish to their fans. LB might have slapped hands with Young Joc backstage, but again, the people who are out to see Young Joc probably don’t give a damn about Little Brother.

I don’t think that LB needs to go back into the studio and record a crunk record (although handing production duties to people outside of their camp would be nice) to appeal to a mass audience. Honestly, in the end, LB will probably get the mainstream success that they are hoping for when they signed a major label deal. The Listening was a great album. In fact, I enjoy left feild music over Dirty South. Gasp! Little Brother have carved a unique niche of hip-hop for themselves and that’s good. But unfortunately, its still a niche, and until mainstream audiences accept them for who they are, LB will be in that corner for a long time.

  • dcfist

    Our music is too smart for black people…Oh little brother, we’re so sorry for you. Here, tour japan and open up for Jurrassic 5.

    Nigga please. Somebody needs to tell these bammas that pretty much, their music is boring. Point blank. They will never have the commercial success of a Kanye, Outkast, The Roots, Talib Kweli or Mos Def. They’re taking up space in underground indie hip hop…Little Brothers indeed.

  • jerome

    I mean I don’t see how LB doing a show with these acts is a bad thing. In order for them to get new fans and reach a different audience they are going to have to take risks and do shows outside of their “core” audience. Its one thing to recognize your strengths/lane but if you reserve yourself to only stay in that lane thats where you lose.

    As far as Phontes comments, he really put his foot in his mouth. I’d say this is a bad look for LB and southern rap fans in general. They are a national act that got blank stares and couldn’t even illicit boos from their home state crowd. UGH!!

  • Donte Morrisette

    LB, seems that they will always be painted into this box. Although I give them cred for working with Drama on Grillz, but did they do that to prove a point to people (and to Bun B after their little tiff) or are they really expanding. Too many artists are always dope and fail to get commercial success (and I mean videos that BET won’t say is too smart for their audience). I mean let’s look at people like Bahamadia, Jean Grae and even the Roots for a while, they never had bangers playing the the clubs, and the majority of people that watch BET/MTV, go to clubs and get sales, they are some of the best acts.

    Remember, the Black Eyed Peas before Fergie was with the group. Same type of dopeness but the masses didn’t feel them until the went pop. But for some reason I think it will take one major release and more people will start paying more attention to these types of groups. I am a HUGE fan of LB and Phonte always makes comments that seem harsh or “ignorant”, but he is passionate about his ish. It seems like they are one of the best groups out, but they always get labeled as “underground” and for “backpackers” when I think that Phonte is one of the top spitters in the game now. Come on now, he is off the chain! I live in Akron, OH and it is split. Some people are on “what is popular now” and some are on “real MC’s”. I can ride through certain spots blasting LB and get looks but some places will nod their heads.

    Anyway…I think I have said enough…holla back