Phonte (Little Brother) conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Phonte - Preparing For The Show

July 2005

Having had huge success with "The Listening" in 2003, Little Brother have gone on to sign with Atlantic Records and will be releasing their album "The Minstrel Show" in September of this year.

MVRemix: I heard Little Brother were involved with the Brooklyn Hip Hop festival - how did that come about?

Phonte Little Brother InterviewPhonte: Pretty much it came about where the organizers got in touch with our manager and just reached out with "Is this somethin' that y'all want to do?" We was just down to do it. We read the line up and saw who else was gonna be involved so it seemed like something we wanted to be involved in. That's pretty much how it happened.

MVRemix: What inspired the mixtapes being named after the Chitlin Circuit?

Phonte: It was intended to be the pre-release to our album "The Minstrel Show," our album that's coming out in September. So "The Chitlin Circuit" was acting like a prelude to the album. That was essentially it.

MVRemix: Are there any more in the works?

Phonte: Not as of right now. Maybe after "Minstrel" drops we may do another, but as of right now we just focusing on the mixtape and the album.

MVRemix: Can you tell me more about it, recently we interviewed Big Pooh and he called it "A more mature album"...

Phonte: Pretty much a lot of the same topics are ones we talked about on "The Listening" but now it's on a different understanding and it's from a different perspective because we both grown, well all three of us have grown. It's kind of just addressing things after you have a little more understanding about it and addressing those situations from a more mature standpoint.

MVRemix: How do you feel about the pressure on your shoulders to top "The Listening"?

Phonte: For me it's no so much pressure to top "The Listening," as much as it is to make a good record. My personal feeling on making albums is that you can't concentrate on to top an album before it. "The Listening" spawned so much. It was a movement. So, if we bust up into the studio and say its got to be bigger and its got to be better; that's going about it the wrong way. "The Listening" was it's own kind of movement. Now it's just focusing on making "The Minstrel Show" it's kind of movement. There really ain't no pressure to top "The Listening," just pressure to make a dope record on it's own too. With "The Minstrel Show," I think that's what we've done.

MVRemix: Can you give me more details such as guest appearances or concepts that are gonna be used on the album?

Phonte: "The Minstrel Show" has, of course, most of our family is on there. Joe Scudda, Darien Brockington, Sain Buka, he's singing hooks on there, Yahzarah is on it. We got Elzhi from Slum Village on there, he came through on a joint and he killed it. Chaundon from my crew is on it. Khrysis did one beat, everything else is produced by 9th.

MVRemix: Are you yourself working on a solo album?

Phonte: Ah no, I'm not working on a solo album. Me myself, I'm concentrating on making sure that Little Brother's tight. After that, then I'll do some other stuff. But there's no solo album in sight for me for a long time... If ever, actually.

MVRemix: Who influenced your live show?

Phonte: I don't know. I guess there wasn't no inspiration, it was just, again this comes from us being ourselves. We do things on stage that we would like to see. When we go on stage, we think about going to a live show and wondering "What would trip me out?" "Yo, if I saw somebody do Lets Stay Together or something, that would trip me out." That was just the way we were in tune.

MVRemix: Do you have any thoughts on the Michael Jackson verdict?

Phonte: That shit is incredible man! [chuckles] I don't know how the fuck that nigga got off. He made it in some kind of way. I personally think he was guilty, but he got off. I guess it's just the power of money. All I want now is some music. Show your appreciation by making some fucking records man. Just fucking record.

MVRemix: What's next for the Justus League?

Phonte: Next is pretty much just more music, The Away Team and L.E.G.A.C.Y. their albums are out in stores now. Project Mayhem - The National Anthem. Of course we got "The Chitlin Circuit 1.5" by Little Brother then we got "The Minstreal Show" coming out September 13th. 9th Wonder's "Dream Merchant" LP is supposedly coming out at the end of this year I think. We all just working.

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Phonte: [ponders] I'd fight Ananada Lewis from MTV - I wouldn't fight her, I'd mud wrestle though. I wanna do nude mud wrestling.

MVRemix: Are there any southern rappers more so along your lines rather than the crunk generation, that you think we should be watching out for?

Phonte: Definitely T.I. is one. A lot of people lump him in with the crunk shit or whatever, but dude can really rhyme. Some of my cats from around the crib, Cosby, Remix Project, Shelly B - there's a lot of cats from around the way that are really continuing the tradition of really making dope records.

MVRemix: Aside from "The Minstrel Show" have you been working on any other collaborations or guest appearances?

Phonte: [ponders] Nah, that's pretty much it really. We did some stuff for Mos Def that's gonna be for his record. That shit came out though.

MVRemix: Do you have any last words?

Phonte: Thanks to everybody that bought the record and thanks to everybody who downloaded the record or whatever, you know. I just want to say thank you and the support means a lot. We're gonna keep putting out dope music.

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