Collaborations with artists like Destiny's Child, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z established 9th Wonder's mainstream presence. But its the Little Brother producer's choice to remain loyal to his core underground fan base that granted the North Carolina native a different level of respect among cultural enthusiasts. 9th's decision has no bearing on his ability to play chameleon with his sound, and that's proven on his latest project, Black American Gangster.
The mixtape reworks the vocals from Jay-Z's 2007 album American Gangster over 9th Wonder's patented soul production. The end product plays like an entirely new body of work, with tracks like "Party Life" and "Sweet" now featuring samples from Kool and The Gang and The Love Unlimited Orchestra. For one reason or another, "Roc Boys" was excluded from the project, which probably has something to do with Hov's tricky flow on the original.
Fans familiar with 9th's previous remix albums Black is Back! (Jay-Z's The Black Album) and God's Stepson (Nas' God's Son) should be familiar with the formula behind the project. If anything, Black American Gangster will both remind listeners that 9th is not to be trifled with on the production tip, and most importantly: American Gangster is/was a phenomenal project.
Photo: 9th Wonder