Backstage at the kickoff stop of the L-R-G Tour, Page 31 had the pleasure of sitting down with legendary hip hop producer 9th Wonder, 24 hours fresh off the release of his new album The Wonder Years. 9th was excited to finally get the project out and discussed the greatness of working with Raekwon, Mac Miller’s future in the game, how Jay-z’s Threats brought tears to his eyes, playing beats for Beyonce for 3 hours, Drakes Take Care and his position as a professor at Duke University! Check out our question and answer with the man who has brought us years of legendary music.
P31: The Wonder Years has officially been released, how are you feeling about that?
9th: It’s out, it’s in the streets. You can have it. I feel relieved! (laughs) Seriously.
P31: It’s been a long time coming on this project, but you’ve got a lot of great features on The Wonder Years. What would you say was the most meaningful collaboration on this project?
9th: The Raekwon, definitely.
P31: Anytime you get Raekwon to go in on a song, it’s always something special.
9th: Yeah man! It was more of a tribute joint, than it was for anything else and I made a great friend out of it. Were both Capricorns so we understand each other.
9th: I mean the chef cooks man! Before my man Lil B came along, somebody was cooking before him…my man Raekwon. It was a tribute to Wutang and the thing that started off his whole legacy, and he’s one of my favorite rappers ever.
P31: It’s really special you’re the type of producer/artist that can work with the new school and the old school. You got the young cat Mac Miller on there, how do you feel about Mac and where he stands in the game?
9th: Better not nobody say a bad word about that dude man. Man, I blast people on twitter man. I might hit somebody in the face for saying something bad about Mac Miller man. Because he just breathes positivity, and I love positive people, and I hate negative people. Nobody is connecting with their fans the way he is, and it’s completely honest. He’s not trying to be anything he’s not, which is a bad epidemic in Hip-Hop; you got a whole lot of niggas lying. Doing things, and being things that they’re not because they think that gets them somewhere. Mac Miller is totally opposite. He’s from Pittsburgh, he loves Hip Hop, he likes to party at his shows, and his shows are incredible. I’m not on the Mac Miller payroll either, he don’t pay me to say this.
P31: Back to The Wonder Years, how would you say that this ties into your career coming up this point. What would you say this means to your career and legacy?
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9th: Hmm…Like I said on The Wonder Years, we don’t decide our own legacy. I just, you know, I just want to continue to put out great records, just good music man. Whether 5,000 people hear it or 50,000 or 5 million, I guess one thing nobody can ever say about me is that I didn’t care about the music.
P31: Is that something that, the lucky students at Duke that get to see you teach take a soul sampling class taught by The Wonder Years get to see? What’s class with professor 9th Wonder like?
9th: (laughing) Ahh man. I teach the class on my own besides Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, so big shouts to him. It’s a hard class man. It’s not a walk in the park. Some hard essay questions, it’s a very intense class.
P31: So you think some kids the class like ’alright, we’re just gonna listen to some beats’.
9th: Yeah Man! Some dudes get in there and figure out it’s not what they thought it was gonna be. But I don’t have a lot of students that drop. It’s a challenge for them, but a good challenge.
P31: You say there are some hard questions in your class, I’ve got a very hard question for you: What is the craziest reaction you’ve had to a verse over one of your beats.
9th: The Jay-z verse. That wasn’t hard at all. When he first did the Threat verse…that was it. Yeah that was it, it was so vivid.
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P31: What was your reaction?
9th: A tear ran down my face. (laughs) Aint gon lie. Because, he said my name on the track and I had been working so hard for a moment like that not knowing the moment was gonna come from him. It was a sense of relief to finally know I made some kind of a mark. Not that I didn’t make a mark with Little Brother, that I did, but you know, on that particular level I made a mark. He said my name on the track and he put my track between Timbaland’s and Eminem’s on the album. My career can end tomorrow but nobody can take that away from me. I was on one of the top three Jay-z albums ever.
P31: Like I’ve said, you find a way to keep ties with the younger generation. A track list has surfaced, and were not sure if it’s official or not but they say you’re on that Take Care project.
9th: I am not.
P31: Would you like to get on that Take Care project?
9th: It’s up to Drake man. You know its, it’s – I’ve never been one, after all the albums I’ve been on whether it be Jay’s, Destiny Child, Mary J Blidge, Erykah, Ludacris, Memphis Bleek, Lloyd Banks—
all the records I’ve done on a major level, I’ve never slept outside somebody’s door with a demo cd. It’s always been 9th I want you to rock on my record. So maybe I’m spoiled, maybe whatever, but I am not into sitting down with an A&R and playing an A&R beats. Jay-z kinda ruined all of that because I dealt with him directly. If I dealt with him directly, I’m not about to play no beats for no A&Rs, that’s wack. I dealt with him directly; I sat with Beyonce for 3 hours and played her beats. Well played all 3 of them [Destiny’s Child] beats. It was just me and them. It wasn’t me, the A&R dude and them. I’ve dealt with everybody directly, so I’m passed that.
P31: On a closing note, if somebody wants to get the magic of a 9th Wonder production, how can they go about that?
9th: If they’re old enough and own some kind of bank account at a banking institution, I suggest you go… and holla at them about it and if you don’t got the money that’s fine. They do home equity loans, they do loans, they do all types of things. They do pell— you can get a pell grant, you can lie to the government at FAFSA, whatever you need to do, you know. That’s the best way to go about it. If you not on my label, you have to pay. And that’s how that goes.
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