Whether it was planned or not, I think it was pretty fitting that both 9th Wonder and Phonte, 9th’s friend and fellow Little Brother member released their highly anticipated albums on the same day, September 27th which they said is the same release date of Little Brother's classic album, The Minstrel Show.
I really looked forward to The Wonder Years and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Even though I am part of 9th Wonder’s online promotion/marketing team, The Jamla Army (and proud of it too! ;-)), I decided not to listen or download any leaks and bought the album via iTunes at midnight September 27th. It was hard to avoid though! Lol! Especially since he made some of the beats live on Ustream and played some of the album there too.
If you appreciate the art of production especially 9th Wonder’s, you are in for a treat. If you are the type to say when a producer puts out a whole album, it’s only as strong as its features, you won’t be disappointed either. 9th’s got you cover there too. You’ve got big names, popular and current artists like Warren G, Raekwon, Erykah Badu, Marsha Ambrosius, Masta Killa, Murs, Talib Kweli, Mac Miller, Jean Grae, Phonte, Kendrick Lamar with a bunch of the artists from 9th’s Jamla Records namely Big Remo, HaLo, Sundown, Enigma, Heather Victoria, GQ, Thee Tom Hardy and Rapsody.
The Wonder Years is an album that’s necessary to show that Hip Hop is still thriving and the spirit of “boom bap” is alive and well. I feel like if anyone thinks Hip Hop is dead or 95% of what people call Hip Hop these days is garbage, first they probably should stop listening to the radio and paying attention to BET and then, they need to listen to The Wonder Years and be proven wrong.
Once again, I face the difficult task of choosing 3-4 songs to talk about…before I do that besides the ones I chose, I absolutely love Never Stop Loving You, One Night, 20 Feet Tall (Remix), Band Practice 2, Me & My Nuh (on the deluxe version) and many more. Phew! Okay, here I go:
Enjoy Featuring Warren G, Murs & Kendrick Lamar
When 9th first described this song on Twitter, he mentioned that he had the “Past, Present & Future of the West Coast” on this track and I agree. Warren G?? The Regulator himself on a 9th Wonder beat??? Need I say more? Murs has always had great chemistry with 9th so I was happy to see him on here. Now Kendrick Lamar is semi new to me and I’m still getting to know him as an artist but I like what I’m hearing!
Loyalty Featuring Masta Killa & HaLo
I’ve always loved hip hop love songs…wait, lemme rephrase…I’ve always loved hip hop love song that aren’t corny! Lol! Not that this album is full of lyrics that degrade woman, talking about bitches and hoes etc…but this song gives you a nice break from all that. Masta Killa's great and well, I love HaLo! :)
Your Smile Featuring Holly Weerd & Thee Tom Hardy
THIS SONG RIGHT HERE! There hasn’t been a week since The Wonder Years came out that I haven’t had this joint along with Peanut Butter & Jelly on repeat for at least an hour! I love the whole vibe of this track and Holly Weerd just fits perfectly with it. Thee Tom Hardy’s flow has always been a favorite of mine with all his witty lyrics. Your Smile is just a total win for me!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Featuring Marsha Ambrosius
This is another song that had my mouth drop when I heard the beat. I love when 9th does R&B. He does it very well; after all, it’s what he won his Grammy for. You then have the beautifully soulful voice of Marsha Ambrosius singing lyrics like, “You and me, it’s like Peanut Butter & Jelly…when I’m without you, I’m cool but I’m so much better with you….” The vibe of this track just gets me hype every time I hear it and I’m sure it will for you too!
BONUS PICK! (Okay, I couldn't leave it at 4! LOL!)
Now I'm Being Cool Featuring Mela Machinko & Median
I cannot get enough of this song!!! The sample and the beat, Mela's vocals and Median's rap??? EEEKKKK!! Perfection! Yes, perfection...unlike me, belting out vocals in my car...but hey, I'm not bad...just not perfection! LOL! Listen to this song and see what I'm talking about. I dare you to tell me that this song doesn't put you in a GREAT mood!