Little Brother “The Listening” (2003)

9th Wonder: “For The Listening we didn’t clear any of those samples. At the time we didn’t think the record would have the impact it did. So we weren’t even thinking about clearing samples. It was more so, ‘Come get us.’ We didn’t have the money to do so, and we didn’t want to stop our creativity because of it.

“So in the ‘The Listening,’ I incorporated that bit off ‘T.R.O.Y.’ because that’s my favorite rap song of all-time. That part at the end of ‘T.R.O.Y.’ I memorized. ‘Just listen, to the funky song, as I rock on, and that’s word is bond…’ I know all the adlibs. And I really liked the part that said, ‘Just listen.’ That’s why I named the album The Listening, and it needed to be the title track.

“I felt like in order to get our album, you really had to sit down and listen to it. And we also talked about the fact that niggas weren’t really listening to what cats were saying no more. I think that was the beginning of the end of people actually listening.

“We didn’t expect any of this. We just wanted to see if we could make a dope album, front to back. We’re from North Carolina, dude. There are only a few people that live here doing something musically on the black side.

”I try to look at cats now like, ‘Don’t look to me to get you out of NC,’ because I sure as hell didn’t look to Petey [Pablo]. None of us did. We looked at Petey saying, ‘Okay, homie. If you can do it, I know I can do it.’ And I didn’t need Petey to do it. Because everything I needed was on the Internet.

”That’s not animosity towards Petey Pablo at all. He did his thing, and it was time for us to do ours. Plus, we knew the type of music Petey made. And we didn’t want to go that way. So we needed to find out ways we needed to go. And it just happens that we were doing our music, and then ?uestlove heard of us on the Internet.”