For a group that has been only together for about three years, Little Brother has made some major noise in the underground market. The trio of Phonte, Big Pooh and 9th Wonder made a classic with The Listening, and they had the internet going nuts before Paul Wall. Now fast-forward to 2005: With the release of The Minstrel Show, the question was, "How do you top a classic?" Well, you can't really top a classic, but you can make another one. As Phonte would put it: "Dope beat, dope rhymes, it's not that hard." LB did make it look that easy with The Minstrel Show.
The album is another conceptual album as UBN hits the air. The introduction quickly runs into a banger -- "Beautiful Morning" -- as Phonte and Big Pooh flow nicely over a bass-driven beat. While every track has rock-solid lyricism and production, there are still those that stand out. "Hiding Place," featuring Elzhi of Slum Village, is the best track of the bunch, with a beat from 9th that sounds like Jay Dee production. The beat is infectious, and everyone comes ferocious, with the highlight from Phonte: "So I'm playing postman and addressing all questions/Like 'Yes I'm still with LB, no I'm not leaving/ With all these wack niggas puttin' records out/this is all live, nigga check it out/ LB S.Villa on a mission/ and I ain't worried about niggas bitin' The Minstrel Show/ they still teethin off 'The Listening.'"
"Still Lives Through" is another highlight that puts everything to rest about how LB feels about hip hop heads and publications that don't pay attention to the group. These lines say it all about LB's feelings: "I hear it all the time, 'LB ain't on the same shit'/'so innovative, y'all the next best thing since'/ whatever, I just laugh with it/'cause today's fan is tomorrow's rap critic/one day, they giving you the thumbs up/ the next, they telling 9th to go and switch his drums up."
There are many quotes you could go and take from this album, and that's what makes this album a classic. Phonte drops his usual dope lines and Big Pooh has shown improvement since The Listening. The flow of the album was smooth and the skits went along nicely. For everyone who has slept on Little Brother before, this would be a perfect time to give this group a listen and see what all the internet buzz is about.