9th Wonder | Interview
From Raleigh, NC, 9th Wonder is a hip hop producer, record executive, DJ, professor, and lyricist. His career began as the producer for the underground hip hop group Little Brother, and has since worked with Mary J. Blige, Jean Grae, Jay-Z, Murs, Drake, Buckshot, Chris Brown, Destiny’s Child, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Mac Miller, David Banner, and more. 9th Wonder’s first significant career breakthrough came in 2003 when he released God’s Stepson, an unofficial remix album of Nas’ 2002 album God’s Son, which became popular online. As part of Little Brother, he gained widespread recognition and critical acclaim for his production on their debut release in 2003, The Listening. Jay-Z’s studio engineer Young Guru contacted 9th, which led to 9th Wonder producing “Threat” for Jay-Z’s The Black Album in 2003. 9th then secured production on Destiny’s Child’s 2004 album, Destiny Fulfilled, with the help of Jay-Z. 9th Wonder left Little Brother in 2007 and served as one of the lead producers of the EA Sports soundtrack for the video game NBA Elite 11. In 2010, 9th worked with David Banner on a collaborative album, Death Of A Pop Star. In 2009, 9th started two independent record labels, Jamla and The Academy, under his imprint It’s A Wonderful World Music Group (IWWMG). Jamla originally consisted of Skyzoo, GQ, Rapsody, Tyler Woods, and Big Remo, while The Academy consisted of Thee Tom Hardy, Actual Proof (Sundown & Enigma), TP, and The Away Team (Khrysis & Sean Boog). The Academy artists were later folded into the Jamla label. HaLo & Heather Victoria were announced as the newest members of IWWMG in 2010, and later that year, 9th debuted his production team for IWWMG. In 2010, independent filmmaker Kenneth Price documented 9th Wonder’s travels for a full year, titled The Wonder Year. The film includes studio sessions, classes taught at Duke University, performances with Murs at Rock The Bells, candid interviews with 9th about his life and career, and featured appearances by Drake, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, J. Cole, Sha Money XL, Young Guru, The Alchemist, and more. In 2010, 9th Wonder began co-teaching a class titled “Sampling Soul” with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal at Duke University. The vision is to educate the youth on hip hop’s origin and history in order to give hip hop a longer life. 9th Wonder and Black Jeruz are the spokespeople for the P’Tones Records studio, partnered with North Carolina Central University to create constructive opportunities for inner city youth through no-cost neighborhood music programs.