Every so often a new artist or producer comes along and sweeps the industry off their feet. In 2003 Little Brother maybe this new group, dropping their debut album "The Listening" and setting the underground Hip-Hop scene on fire. Producer extraordinaire 9th Wonder has gained huge accolades for his work, drawing many comparisons to ATCQ & Pete Rock with his jazzy, old school vibe and classic throwback style. One of 9th's trademarks since his arrival has been remaking some of the industry's more popular songs over with his own brand of soulful production, as seen on the indy success of the 9th Wonder remix album. Knowing his popularity is growing by the minute, 9th takes his beat making and remixing success to the next level by remaking Nas's hit album "God's Son" into his own brand of early 90's funk and jazz entitled "God's Stepson".
The year was 1994 when Nas dropped the timeless masterpiece "Illmatic". Since then Nas has been unable to capture the same essence featured on that classic album. The main reason comes in the form of Nas never being able to recapture that distinct early 90's sound through his production again. The likes of Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Q-Tip & Large Professor would never again grace a Nas album all at once, leaving many hearts broken forever. While one cannot expect Nas to go back and recreate the sounds of 1994, as Nas has moved on as an artist, one cannot help but think would it would sound like if Nas would indeed get similar production to the likes of those classic days. Well the wait is over for Nas fan's as Little Brother's very own 9th Wonder has single handily taken Nas back to his glory days with "God's Stepson".
Amazingly, 9th is able to capture that surreal feeling of 1994 all over again with his luscious jazz filled, soulful production. It is amazing how 9th took Nas's effort from "God's Son" and remade it into something completely fresh and nostalgic at the same time.
While Eminem's original production for "The Cross" was a blend of dark powerful piano loops, 9th remakes it into something completely different. He brings about a totally new atmosphere, one of a lighter brand. While the original "Cross" was a dark, melodic depiction of that vintage Eminem style of production, this newer version is that of 9th's vintage style, which is definitely more geared towards that classic Nasty Nas vibe.
9th is even able to take such mediocre tracks such as "Hey Nas", "Mastermind" and "I Can" and blow the originals away with his new renditions. While the more commercial, pop sounds of "Hey Nas" were anything but memorable on "God's Son", 9th's remake gives the track that distinct Hip-Hop vibe it needed. While some tracks such as "Get Down", "Made You Look" and "Last Real Nigga Alive" are nearly impossible to top, 9th does a great job of suiting each track's distinct nature. While 9th's remakes of "Get Down" and "Made You Look" are no where near its original, as no one could beat the original sample used on "Get Down" and "Made You Looks" raspy NYC vibe. But they still are a successful venture thanks to nice additions of vocal samples, which make them new entities themselves. "Thugz Mansion" is another showcasing of 9th's wondrous soulful vocal samples, giving the track a feeling that the original badly needed.
The album's two finest moments are indeed special tracks that have to be heard. The original Alicia Keys produced "Warrior", which was a success in its own right, it's completely remade into classic Little Brother production. Filled with a head nodding drum pattern along with a nicely added vocal sample and melodic backdrop, Nas sounds like the his old self, even for the few minutes it lasts. 9th even laces the end of the track with a Pete Rock like outro that is just as amazing. Somebody should have got their hands on that beat! Probably 9th's bravest effort comes from remaking Stillmatic's classic "Ether". While the original was grimy and dark, 9th's newfound production gives it a completely new vibe with mesmerizing old school/Pete Rock type horns.
"God's Stepson" is proof that 9th Wonder is indeed here to stay as one of the industry's elite producers. All doubts that 9th's production would become repetitive and tiresome after awhile can be erased as 9th has shown he can even resurrect a Hip-Hop legends sound of the past. It is truly amazing that it only takes 9th Wonder's production to give Nas that Illmatic type feel again. While you cannot compare the original "God's Son" to 9th's recreation, it is just great to hear an album remade into a completely different light. One has to wonder how Nas would really sound if he called on 9th for his future projects. Let's hope Nas pays attention to what 9th has accomplished here and realizes that maybe his best chance for reviving that classic Nas sound lies in the hands of 9th Wonder.