9th Wonder is a very serious name to carry. A lot of responsibility comes with it. The world renowned Seven Wonders of the World are nothing short of miracles and include ancient Greek, Babylonian and Egyptian artifacts. Artists in the Hip Hop game have long taken names from other walks of life. Look at Scarface, Redman, Alchemist, Tupac and many more. 9th had to carry a lot of weight thou with his name. He wasn’t named after a comic book character or even a revolutionary rebellious leader. He had to prove much more than make dope music or bring up controversial issues. He had to make a difference, get attention and make sure he would be remembered after he’s gone.
So, how does one become a legend from the get-go? At first forming Little Brother as a part of a trio he simply made dope music. Quickly rising to prominence he got to work with everyone from Mary J Blige to Jay Z to Mos Def and also didn’t forget the underground circle, making music with Buckshot, Jean Grae and Sean Price. His most recent album with Buckshot, The Formula, was released recently through Duckdown Records. His solo albums, Dream Merchant 1 & 2 made him a name as a separate entity. This year alone he also contributed production efforts to Erykah Badu’s, Akrobatik’s and Vicent Laroze’s albums, as well as produced the forever-delayed Jean Grae’s release.
Music aside, 9th also has a rich teaching career. No, he is not a part-time math tutor or an ESL instructor. He began his music career while attending the North Carolina Central University, DJing there. Now he continues his academic involvement as a contributor, rather than a student and mixes it with his passion for music. He teaches the history of Hip Hop at NCCU and is just as passionate about it as he is about making music. In today’s environment, when kids grow up listening to Soulja Boy and even Kanye tells Ice-T that he has no right to speak against him (?!) it is more important than ever to teach people that there is more than Superman dat ho to Hip Hop. As with every music or any other movement there are questionable seeds. Yes, you get the gruesome and violent lyrics of 50 Cent, the cheap and shallow lines of Lil Wayne’s fanfare and even the extremely sexist words of the old school group 2 Live Crew. Yet, you get the righteous lines of the Public Enemy songs, the conscious themes in Common’s music and the mature and elevated preaching from the mouth of KRS-1. It is true, most artists in Hip Hop come from the poorly educated families, mostly lower economic conditions and disadvantageous overall life settings. Still, while those preconditions set a certain course in life as people grow they discover that there is more to it than just gangbanging, drugs, jail sentences and disrespect for women and the elders. Hence the veterans in Hip Hop tend to give off a more positive vibe. With that in mind it is almost astonishing that since the early 20s 9th has been paying so much attention to educating himself and others.
Will 9th Wonder make the mark on the world he planned to make? Will he be remembered long after he’s gone? Will he live up to his name? Those questions will have to wait to receive an answer. One thing is clear thou, he’s on the right path: his own and he will gladly share it with you.