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City Paper Article: Little Brother ‘Getback’ Review

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“Dropped from their label and down a member-producer 9th Wonder-the past two years have been tough on Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother. Surprisingly, the guys that confrontationally called their major-label album ‘The Minstrel Show’ don’t run further underground. Rather, they dropped the brash meta commentary and made Getback, a record that caters to the pop-rap crowd without losing its soul.

Little Brother always had an ear for radio rap in the past, but here the MCs internalize trends and turn them into songs that feel like hits but won’t be deleted from iTunes in six months. “Two-Step Blues” recalls instructional dance rap, but replaces “crank dat”-isms with demands to “two-step them blues away” and all-inclusive shout-outs for “everybody at the VFW.”

“Good Clothes” is every rapper’s “I got a lot of stuff” single but with a dose of honesty. It’s a critique of conspicuous consumption that implicates the group’s own quest to be fresh: “As we got on the floor, it was embarrassin’ trust me/ The saleswoman walked me straight over to husky.” “Sirens” conflates the messed-up political climate (“Go against the system, you in bed with al-Qaida/ Dog, they ain’t playing”) with cultural criticism-Phonte calls rap videos “psychological warfare” while pulling it together with a paranoid R&B hook: “They’re coming closer for you.” The rappers’ anger is aided by a decidedly mainstream beat; it’s like they took T.I.’s swagger and put it to better use.”

Written by Brandon

December 5th, 2007 at 8:40 am

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