Hip-hop heads, did you know that the legendary Pete Rock inspired Little Brother’s Phonte to quit his job and pursue his passion full time?

In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy, the North Carolina renaissance man recounted back when the trio was grinding their way into the rap industry, he received a call from the Chocolate Boy Wonder praising their music.



At the time, Phonte was still working a 9-to-5 at a department but as soon as he heard from Pete Rock, he dropped the job and put everything into his music.

Phonte: I had a job at Belt, a department store. I don’t know what the Australian equivalent would be, but they sell shirts and tops. I was working in the Tommy Hilfiger section, selling Polo, and I called home to check my messages one day and there was this message going, “What’s going on, Phonte? This is Chocolate Boy Wonder Pete Rock. Your album is crazy, classic. Yo, I’ve got to get you on this album, son. Peace.” (looks blank) I had to listen to it again. Beep. “What’s going on, Phonte? This is Chocolate Boy Wonder Pete Rock. Your album is crazy, classic. Yo, I’ve got to get you on this album, son. Peace.”

As one of the most beloved groups in hip-hop, Little Brother officially debuted in 2001 with their first single “Speed” – a grounded, soulful cut focused on blue collar culture that would influence the likes of Kanye and Drake in the future. The group dropped their debut, The Listening, in 2003 and went on to release a few more albums before disbanding in 2010.

Since then, Phonte has gone to pursue a solo career, forming The Foreign Exchange with Dutch producer Nicolay as well as dropping his critically acclaimed solo debut, Charity Starts at Home.

Source: Red Bull Music Academy – Phonte

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Written by Hao Nguyen
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