By Cameron Lee
July 13, 2019
The Department of Natural & Cultural Resources and North Carolina Arts Council have been celebrating the rich but often forgotten history of music in North Carolina this year through a campaign called Come Hear NC.
Celebrating musicians, studios, venues, labels, record stores, promoters, and listeners through web-stories, interviews, special commissions, and educational programming, the North Carolina Arts Council commissioned Holland Randolph Gallagher to direct and produce a documentary about the iconic North Carolina hip-hop group, Little Brother.
The trio of 9th Wonder, Phonte, and Big Pooh got their start in a college dorm at North Carolina Central in 2001 as an offshoot of the Justus League collective. Little Brother defined North Carolina hip-hop in that era, creating a sound that distinguished themselves from the Dirty South “crunk” music of its time. With production from super-producer 9th Wonder (Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu), and lyricism of Phonte and Big Pooh, the groundbreaking group turned the heads of hip-hop fans and artists across the country from the quaint city of Durham, North Carolina.
Narrated by the group members, who recently reunited at last year’s Art of Cool Fest in Durham after a long hiatus, also features cameos from Questlove and Justus League members Chaundon, DJ Flash, Cesar Comanche and Khrysis. Chronicling the rise from the Durham dorm room to hip-hop royalty, The Listening is an essential watch for any true hip-hop fan and appreciator.
The group also recently announced they will be touring and releasing new music as a duo (Phonte and Big Pooh) and are scheduled to play this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Watch the The Listening short documentary.