Consequence f/ Kanye West & Little Brother “I See Now” (2003)

9th Wonder: “We had a conference in Durham, North Carolina called the SMES Music Summit. It was a hip-hop conference and they have panels. So we’re at this conference and there was this guy standing in the lobby with Roc-A-Fella chain on his neck. And somebody said, ‘Yo, that’s Kanye West.’ I was like, ‘Okay, the dude that did beats for The Blueprint album.’

”So I go up to him like, ‘Yo, I’m 9th Wonder.’ He’s like, ‘I know who are you man. I’m Kanye West.’ And then Phonte came over and we’re all talking to him and he’s like, ‘Man, I want to do a song with y’all.’

”So Big Dho had another studio in Durham called Chop Shop, so we went there and recorded ‘I See Now.’ Consequence was with him, and I was playing beats for them and Kanye was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the one.’

”The craziest thing was during that session Kanye played us like half of College Dropout. So we asked, ‘What’s going on with it?’ And he said, ‘Dame is fronting on it.’ He played us the ‘Workout Plan,’ ‘This Way,’ which he did for Dilated Peoples. So he picked the beat and he got on it and said, ‘9th Wonder of the beat. I can’t front, man. You got some hot beats.’

“I kept in touch with him. We kept in touch for a long time. We talked. We were at the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Miami like a month after that. I called him during The Black Album. We kept in touch for a good while all the way up through Late Registration.

”Around the time right after Late Registration is when things got crazy for him. And you can’t expect anybody that goes in that particular route and gets that much acclaim to stay in touch with everybody, especially when the circle around you changes. Not your immediate circle, but you’re not around hip-hop kids no more.

”I saw him at Bowery Ballroom for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I went upstairs to the dressing room and it just looked different. These were cats that I wouldn’t…it just looked different. I felt like I was at a U2 concert. And that’s no diss. It’s just that he’s gotten so large that his audience had changed, and I bet you he can say that about me because I’m teaching at Universities, sitting in rooms with professors and drinking coffee.

”We had stayed in contact. It’s not like we talked everyday, but we talked about producing stuff and tried to stay in touch when we could.”