Interview: Rapper Big Pooh from Little Brother

Which one's the Big Pooh? Depends on who you ask.

Tonight, Big Pooh and Little Brother headline Southpaw, 125 Fifth Ave, Bklyn, 718-230-0236. 8:30pm, $15-$17. [Tickets]

Interview by Ben Westhoff

Thomas Jones, a/k/a Rapper Big Pooh, is one half of the Durham, North Carolina hip hop duo Little Brother. Earlier this year Pooh and his partner Phonte announced that their elder brother DJ 9th Wonder was leaving the group--and the DJ gets production credits on only one song on Little Brother's new album Getback. The most recent disc was released on Bay Area indie ABB Records, after Little Brother severed ties with Atlantic due to poor sales of 2005's The Minstrel Show. (That album was critical of modern rap, and somehow proved eerily prescient of Soulja Boy.) In this recent interview, the 27-year-old impeccably named Pooh discusses these splits, Southern rap, career goals, and why he doesn't care if fans steal his music.

What's the main theme of Getback?

Just getting back to why we started making music in the first place, to enjoy making music again. After a while, you start getting distracted by everything, the politics of the business, who is and who isn't in your group, what label you're on, how many records you sold. You get away from why you started making music in the first place.

Why did you start making it in the first place?

Because I love it. When we made that first album [The Listening], we didn't make it with the intentions of being famous or getting rich. We just made it because we wanted to make some dope music. If you listen to the record, it's all over the place, but, we're having fun. The Minstrel Show wasn't a fun record. This is a fun record.

How would Getback sound if it was released on Atlantic?

I couldn't tell you, to be honest, because there wasn't a real difference between how [our first two sounded]. I can't deal in 'What ifs.'

How much of it had been completed when you split from the label?

About 90 percent. The first and the last tracks on the record were the ones we ended up adding after we totally dissolved the relationship with Atlantic. That happened in January, February, something like that.

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