Hot ticket | Demorris A. Lee, Times staff writer

Little Brother injects thought behind the beat

Rappers Big Pooh (Thomas Jones), left, and Phonte (Phonte Coleman) formed Little Brother a decade ago.

Special to the Times

Rappers Big Pooh (Thomas Jones), left, and Phonte (Phonte Coleman) formed Little Brother a decade ago.

Rappers Big Pooh (Thomas Jones) and Phonte (Phonte Coleman) of the hip-hop group Little Brother know about the grind — they've been on it since they formed in 1998.

Meeting at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., Pooh, Phonte and producer Pat Douthit, also known as 9th Wonder, rapped about everyday working class life wherever they could. Whether it was on George Street on NCCU's campus or in front of the college crowds in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, they were spitting rhymes and creating beats.

The group considered themselves lyrical little brothers of hip-hop greats Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul, thus their name.

Though Little Brother's three albums have not garnered much commercial success (Getback, released in October 2007, is their latest), the music — thinking-man's lyrics that float above body-moving beats — has caught on with a niche crowd.

9th Wonder, who produced hits with hip-hop greats Jay-Z, Destiny's Child and Mary J. Blige, left the group last year, but Big Pooh and Phonte are still doing what they love to do, inspiring crowds to think and groove. Catch them, plus Laws, Motown Pride & Dynasty, at 8 p.m. Friday at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Tickets are $20. (813) 241-8600; www.crowbarlive.com.

Little Brother injects thought behind the beat 06/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 9:42am]

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