Little Brother Speaks On 9th Wonder & Atlantic
Phonte said: It was more creative, but I'll say that a lot of it had to do with personal stuff. I think it was a thing where, and I even told 9th in our last conversation, he wanted a group to use as a platform for his beats, but I don't think he necessarily wanted to be a member of a group. As far as all the responsibilities that come with being in a group, like touring, doing interviews, and all the little bullshit that comes with it. I don't think he wanted that. And it got to a point where, for whatever reason, he didn't have the guts to tell me and Pooh.
Pooh: At the end of the day, it's like a marriage. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. What people don't realize is it wasn't based on any music decision. It was a decision that had to be made amongst us for us to move on and move to the direction that we wanted to go in. Ultimately, me and 'Te were moving in one direction musically and professionally, and 9th was moving in another direction musically and professionally. Sometimes shit just happens. I never understood when EPMD, Pete Rock and CL Smoth, and A Tribe Called Quest broke up. [When] you're on the outside looking in, it's like, 'Yo, what the fuck! They make great music, man. What are they doing?' But now I understand it. You got three grown ass men and all three of us are at different places in our lives and want different things. It just comes to a point where, in order for you to keep going, you have to separate.
Phonte then added; 9th is my dude and I love him to death, but it's like niggas don't want to admit shit a lot of the time. He was real dismissive, like, "Nah, that ain't it, dog." I understand that people grow and change and nobody is going to be the same person they were five years ago, or hell, even two years ago. So my disappointment wasn't in the fact that it went down, it was the way it went down. The last conversation we had, dude didn't even want to sit down and talk to us. We didn't even talk in person, we talked on the phone. Shit like that, is just like, 'Nah my nigga, I can't ride with that.' I would think that as a friend and as a brother, he would've had more respect for what we've done together and handle it in a better way... I think he got comfortable. 9th is a good producer and at times, [he] can even be a great producer. But just from the person that I know and with all the musical knowledge that he has, if he would open himself up more and let go of his doubts, there's no question in my mind that he could be a phenomenal producer.
And on the topic of Atlantic records, their previous home, Phonte added "It was just a thing where a rap group is harder to market. I don't think they knew what they were getting into with us. I think they just saw an opportunity to sign these three happy backpack niggas, who were just gonna be happy to get a deal. But once we got in the building, they saw these are three real niggerish dudes. I guess once they realized that we weren't going neatly fit into any box that just made it a harder sell for them. There's a million other reasons I could give, but ultimately I don't think they believed in us that much."
Asked if they would ever sign with a major again Phonte stated, "Hell no! Never again. I mean, there's stuff that we have going on in the works, so this album could end up on another major. But really, a major label situation is not for meall the red tape and bullshit that comes with it."
In stark contrast, Big Pooh gave his opinion, "Honestly, personally, I would. At the point where the music industry is now, it's like a crumbling empire. But there's still a lot of things that I feel are necessary that they [the record labels] do. The whole distribution and getting your shit out aspect of it. Because unless you have the capital to do it yourself, then you're pretty much pumping it out of your trunk. So I wouldn't have a problem with it, I just have to make sure I can put my records out how I want to put them out and when it's time for them to come out, they'll be on the shelves on Tuesday. That's all I'm concerned about. All that other shit is extra."