As music becomes more and more universal, it is important we recognise the beat makers, the captains of sound, otherwise known as music producers whose talents sometimes get overlooked. Here at Verses + Thesis, we aim to give flowers when our favourites are still here to smell them, so in the next few weeks, we will be shedding light on some of our favourite producers in the game.
Producers have a critical role in the development of a song or album, from arranging vocals, to booking musicians and engineers, and creating iconic sounds. They do it all. Some of our greatest legends have produced their own music, as well as generations of artists, each with their own individual sound. They make thee journey of music all so worthwhile.
As a avid R&B and hip-hop fan, few producers appeal to me like Patrick Denard Douthit, the 9th Wonder of the music world. 9th Wonder grew from his D.I.Y. roots of releasing unofficial remixes to becoming one of the more influential producers in rap. Whether it’s softening the rough edges of some of rap’s hardest acts or giving modern-day singers a dose of vintage soul, 9th stands as one of the most reliable producers in the game. His beatmaking style, marked by smooth soul samples and huge basslines, would grow to define entire eras of hip-hop. Over the years, 9th Wonder has worked on hits with Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and many other icons of hip-hop, R&B, and mainstream pop.
Today's article will share and examine 9 of our favourite 9th Wonder tracks. This is in no particular order so sit back and enjoy. Let us know your favourite 9th Wonder track if its not on our list.
1. LITTLE BROTHER – “NIGHTTIME MANEUVERS”
Where it all started! This is one of the first 9th tracks I remember falling in love with. It sounds like a perfect fit in on a record by A Tribe Called Quest. It is warm, soulful and uplifting just like a lot of 9th Wonders tracks.
2. KENDRICK LAMAR - “DUCKWORTH.”
It wouldn't be a list without this one. 9th soundscapes makes the perfect backing . for kendrick Lamar's intricate storytelling. ‘Duckworth’ juxtaposes three distinctive samples from R&B crooner Ted Taylor, Yugoslavian prog-rockers September, and neo-soul outfit Hiatus Kaiyote – all done with 9th’s trusty MASCHINE. 9th shared with NPR how he crafted the beat that closes out the triple-platinum DAMN.
3. DESTINY'S CHILD - “GIRL”
First of all, lets talk about the way 9th flipped that Dramatics sample!! Smooth or what?
Talk about range. Not everyone 9th works with is a mere hip-hop act. In 2005, he handed over a smooth-as-butter instrumental to Destiny's child and the resulting track was 2005's "Girl" and although the track didn’t dominate the charts, it was one of their most relatable on a down-to-earth level.
4. JAY Z - “THREAT”
Need I say more? This one certainly lives up to its name. “A Woman’s Threat” by R&B’s Voldemort finds new life thanks to 9th’s brooding production and Jay’s menacing bars. 9th speaks and shares the production process with revolt.
5. ERYKAH BADU - “HONEY”
This is another special feel good underrated 9th production. Similar to his collaboration with Destiny’s Child, 9th’s beat on Erykah Badu’s “Honey” further showcased his versatility. From the nods to Minnie Ripperton to the retooling of Nancy Wilson’s “I’m In Love,” “Honey” is a shining standout in Badu’s legendary catalog. It's a shame it was an unlisted bonus track on New Amerykah Part One.
6. MURS - “L.A.”
It wouldn't be a list without this classic. Murs and 9th Wonder have knocked out a ton of classics, but none have hit quite as hard as the West Coast anthem, “L.A.”.
The sample flip is just crazy, as he took the laid back reggae cut “Atlas” by the Mighty Diamonds and turned it into a pure banger. This joint goes to show that 9th is able to change gears with absolute ease.
7. DESTINY'S CHILD - “IS SHE THE REASON”
We can't praise Destiny’s Child’s final album, Destiny Fulfilled and not credit 9th Wonder’s work on the product, including flipping a 70s Melba Moore track into a 00s-era banger for the ladies of DC.
8. RAPSODY FEATURING J. COLE - “SOJOURNER”
It's lowkey the Kendra Morris’ “If You Didn’t Go,” for me.
9. DRAKE FEATURING PHONTE AND ELZHI - “THINK GOOD THOUGHTS”
We couldn't end this list without a Drake track. This Anita Baker "Sweet Love" sample was guaranteed to push this track to its limits.
Overall, it's clear to see 9th Wonder set no limitation for himself. His catalogues. alone. goes to. show his versatility and also help to. distinguish his style. You can tell a 9th Wonder beat just by its smoothness. Comment below a producer that needs to smell their flowers to be on our list.