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Little Brother

The men of Little Brother have set a difficult task for themselves -- to find an audience for intelligent tunes in a hip-hop world that celebrates the likes of "Grillz," a song that praises overpriced dentures. (Coming soon: Efferdent for Rappers! Guaranteed to remove plaque without damaging jewels or gold plating!) Mouthpieces Big Pooh and Phonte have been together since 1998, but they didn't escape the underground until their DJ, 9th Wonder, landed a series of high-profile production gigs for the likes of Jay-Z (he contributed to the Black Album). The Wonder-ful one also helmed The Minstrel Show, Little Brother's 2005 debut for Atlantic Records, and its combination of first-rate songs and satirical skits lampooning many of the stereotypes from which the Brothers' peers profit helped make it one of last year's finest discs in any genre. Granted, it didn't set any sales records, but great buzz and performances like this one, which teams them with like-minded acts Defari and Dilated Peoples, augur well for the future. Unlike members of the "Grillz" crowd, their music has teeth.


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