The Listening: The Story Behind Little Brother’s Debut Album

"We just regular rap dudes because we don't rap about guns and crack and shootin and shit. Niggas wanna call that backpack music but that's just regular real life you know what I'm saying? It's more niggas workin regular jobs than it is pimpin." - Phonte explaining what LB is about

Hip-hop (any music really), at the end of the day, is merely art representing life.

There are few who encompass this depiction as well as the trio of Little Brother.

Plenty of artists exaggerate their lifestyles to sell a record, but Phonte, 9th Wonder & Rapper Big Pooh simply shared their existing lives with us and still managed to become widely successful.

And rightfully so. With their beats, rhythm and flow, the trio was able to paint very real pictures about life which represents the way most of us live (in North America at least).




The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources chronicled the making of their legendary first album “The Listening” and detailed how the trio was founded, what drew them to crafting the sound of the album and what the response was.

While they may not be a trio presently, their first album introduced the world to a brand of hip-hop that was reinvigorating. Not everyone can relate to the gangsta lifestyle, throwing money at dancers, or living lavishly but there are plenty of hip-hop heads working day jobs or night shifts, dealing with community politics and looking forward to their weekends as a short escape from real life.

That’s what Little Brother wanted to express with their first offering. This is the story of how 3 college kids came together and got the hip-hop world to pay attention.

The 11 minute documentary can be viewed below.