9th Wonder: The Syllabus (1964–1982)
Class is in session: The hip-hop super-producer and educator delivers a 101-level seminar of soul, disco and rap classics.
Fun fact: Raleigh, North Carolina, is the chosen home of both Big Daddy Kane and Petey Pablo. But of course, the first name that comes to mind when thinking about NC rap music these days is Patrick Douthit, AKA 9th Wonder. Ever since appearing on the scene with the extra soulful sounds of Little Brother, his universally loved band with rappers Phonte and Big Pooh, he’s made his way from the underground all the way up to hip-hop’s top tier. With Jay-Z’s “Thread,” Erykah Badu’s “Honey” or Kendrick’s most recent album closer “Duckworth,” and with collabo albums with MCs as diverse as Buckshot and David Banner, the man has a string of certified classics to his name. But what makes him really stand out is his willingness to share his acquired wisdom – especially as a lecturer at North Carolina Central University, Duke and Harvard, where 9th teaches classes on hip-hop history and seminars on how to build beats and run a label. For this episode of Headphone Highlights, the Jamla Records CEO guides us through the first part of his syllabus, introducing the soul songs and early rap classics that laid the foundation of the modern-day rap aesthetic.