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Mick Boogie & Little Brother
And Justus For All

mikeboogielilbrother.jpgLittle Brother’s new mixtape, And Justus for All, marks a milestone in the North Carolina collective’s career. It’s the first release since producer 9th Wonder left the fold and they departed from Atlantic Records. With the status of the group up in the air, remaining members Phonte and Big Pooh look to re-establish their identity on this mixtape A&Red and arranged by Cleveland DJ Mick Boogie. Thankfully, the lyrical tandem shows some much needed diversity in their sound and subject matter, dispelling the notion that 9th was the backbone of the group.

And Justus for All’s varied content is a welcome change from LB’s 2005 sophomore album, The Minstrel Show, which was, at times, self-applauding. The “Life of the Party (Remix)” finds a humble Pooh admitting the duo’s SoundScan struggles (“Release date came, then the album flopped/A stale piece of gum would have had more pop”). That self-proclamation of failure is then mended on the radio-friendly “Delusional,” thanks to its neo-soul chorus and the duo’s celebration of spirited women.

The group digs deeper over the Kickdrums’ souled-out score for “Never Leave,” as Phonte draws parallels between hip-hop’s obsession with crack and the furor over Krispy Kreme donuts. ’Te then tops himself on “Last Day”—which borrows the sordid beat from Onyx’s “Last Dayz”—as he reminisces about working at a department store and the shopping habits of different races.
Still, life without 9th Wonder may worry some Little Brother fans. Although cuts like “Rise and Fall” and “One Eleven” make the tape drag at times, And Justus for All highlights the duo’s creativity and workingman’s appeal. It also proves Phonte and Big Pooh are still in their artistic prime and motivated to keep the music coming, with or without a deal. —BILL HEINZELMAN

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  • Vindi

    I’ve had this mixtape for a couple of weeks and I have to admit no 9th wonder did not really worry me as at times his tracks sound like one continous song this proves they can deal without him

    http://www.myspace.com/vindiakaleon

  • Maseo

    Looking forward to another LB joint.

  • The Nature Boy DJ Cue aka The “Mp3J”

    LB is hip hop check there myspace paige for the new joint with Blackstar. Thats whatsup.

  • HollyHood

    I really like then dudes, they all really dope. Shit I’m still listenin 2 the chittlin circuit. I thank if u throw them boys on a just blaze or a kanye track they will b where they deserve 2 b. Can wait 4 the “get back” I didn’t know they wasn’t on atlantic no more!

  • daveed

    LB=NC’s finest, with or without my man 9th who is simply pursuing other business opportunities. Lookout for LB in the near future doing more collabos with kanye and blackstar

  • daveed

    oh yeah and 9th will eventually be back

  • SOUL

    DOPE MIXTAPE, BUT NOT CLASSIC. THERE CLASSIC SOUND AND FIRST 2 CLASSIC ALBUMS LEFT WITH 9TH WONDER. 9TH DID HAVE 2 BEATS ON THIS MIXTAPE THOUGH AND THEY SHOUTED OUT 9TH AT THE END.

  • Shawty J

    Loved the mixtape and I’m looking foward to the new album. Although I do hope for more contributitons from 9th Wonder though.

  • Holla

    Dope mixtape, dope review

  • http://getfr33.com DJ

    What was the original song or who sang the track that was ampled on “Never Leave?”

  • Dashon

    real hip-hop is almost extinct, but with the help of undergrounders like little brother it will never die…they need to keep doing them and let 9th, who is tallented go his seperate way.

  • Dashon

    yo

  • Knowledge

    ‘sup!
    I’m from Maputo, Mozambique, that’s in Africa.

    I’m feeling LB since i’ve heard that “Speed” joint, and since then it’s been LB and Justus League only.
    The XL it’s well deserved, this mixtape is ill, with Phonte showin’ why he is one of the best rappers, maybe the second best rapper (number one – Common) and Big Pooh showin’ his realness.
    it’s sad that 9th is no longer part of the group. Whatever, Hall Of Justus is the click.

    I’m waitin’ for “Get Back.”

    One

  • Town Biz

    Thank god for LB