It seems inevitable that all the great groups split up: A Tribe Called Quest, NWA, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gang Starr, Brand Nubian, EPMD, and the list goes on. While Little Brother's split was more like The Beatnuts with the third of the trio leaving, 9th Wonder was a lot more important than Kool Ass Fashion. Public opinion on Little Brother has taken an interesting path. After The Listening plenty of folks seemed to think that Phonte and Pooh were unworthy of 9th's silky instrumentals. While I never bought that, Phonte's huge improvement by The Minstrel Show killed any of that talk anyway. Critics were now firmly diggin at Pooh, with some grumblings that 9th needed to switch his style up.
Now it's time for the Getback, LB is off Atlantic and 9th is no longer a part of the group. Pooh in the meantime, is out for some getback of his own, making huge strides as an emcee for album number three. This is evident from the album's very first verse when Pooh out with the viciousness; "they talk about us not using the word nigga/I wanna speak about some issues much bigga/like most black folks live below the poverty line/and they wonder why the fuck we attracted to crime/got niggas shootin' niggas at the drop of a dime/babies in the street dying way before their time/many single parent mothers pack the welfare line." Not to be outdone, Phonte lets his presence be felt over Illmind's energetic instrumental; "they tryin to blame this rap shit for all of our ills/like I can stick you up with mic/like I can rape you with a verse or use a verb as a knife/like before Kool Herc everything was alright/like I wasn't calling black women hoes before Rapper's Delight/shiit, that's just idiot talk, this whole shit is a farce/I refuse to be hip hop's pallbearer/had to tell my son to cut that bullshit off, them ain't videos there that's psychological warfare."
Illmind - who handles the production on nearly half the album - keeps things poppin' with lead single Good Clothes. Driven by triumphant horns, the track is the most glaring example of LB's "new direction" as it is in fact a club song. True to form, they continue to rap from the perspective of "real" people and do not make allusions to making anything rain or supermaning any hoes. Fellow Justus Leaguer Khrysis chimes in with After The Party, a clever follow up to the Nottz-produced mixtape favorite Life of the Party. Unfortunately, the sequel doesn't come close to the original as Khysis delivers and uncharacteristically tired beat. Speaking of Nottz, he doesn't exactly blow the doors off on the albums other club jam, Two Step Blues. Not a bad song by any means, just could do without it.
Rest assured, those are the only moments that aren't quite up to par. Illmind really shows out, clearly making the best of the opportunity. Can't Win For Losing is likely the LP's best cut, both for Illmind's production and for Phonte and Pooh's poignant assessment of their recent career arch. That Ain't Love is another standout that is very reminiscent of a 9th Wonder beat. Funny enough, the real 9th's lone production (Breakin' My Heart), doesn't sound much like a 9th beat. Go figure. It's a dope track though, if fans can get over the Lil' Wayne appearance (who certainly doesn't do anything to impress here). Tay and Pooh discuss the art of pulling chicks over a beautifully understated Hi-Tek beat with the always incredible Dion on the hook.
like two of the year's finest albums in Graduation
and Finding Forever, Getback is short, just clocking in with
11 songs. More importantly, Getback
is different. Much like Phonte
explains at the beginning of Dreams
(where he delivers
a contender for verse of the year), this shit is supposed to be different. Without 9th anchoring the album, it most definitely has a different feel. Not anything too radical, but surely more dynamic. I would rank it somewhere between The Minstrel Show and The Listening at this point, but we'll see how it plays in time. Either way, whomever, whatever or where ever they were getting back, they got it.