Little Brother, The Listening

Jon Caramanica

By Jon Caramanica

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Almost everywhere there's been hip-hop, there's been a bohemian-minded backlash, and the South is no different. Little Brother — a trio who met in college in North Carolina — were conscientious objectors just as Southern hip-hop was hitting its commercial and materialistic peak. Taking cues from A Tribe Called Quest and Pete Rock, they paired soul-dappled beats with airy, common-man raps — they shine on "Away From Me," a song about fatherhood denied. (If the verses get you down, there's also an instrumental version — producer 9th Wonder became a favorite of the Roots '?uestlove and was later tapped by Jay-Z.)