ⓘ 9th Wonder
Patrick Denard Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is a hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper from Midway, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother in Durham, North Carolina, and has also worked with Mary J. Blige, Jean Grae, Wale, Jay-Z, Murs, Drake, Buckshot, Chris Brown, Destinys Child, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Mac Miller, David Banner, Lecrae, Jill Scott, Big Boi, Rapsody, 2 Chainz, Nipsey Hussle, and Anderson.Paak. As of 2010, 9th Wonder raps under the name of 9thmatic. 9th Wonder has a smooth and soulful production style that builds on samples from artists such as Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.
1. Music career
9th Wonders first significant career breakthrough came in 2003 when, as an up-and-coming producer, he released an unofficial remix album of Nas 2002 album Gods Son entitled Gods Stepson. Released through internet outlets, the album garnered significant attention and acclaim. The producer has said that he was not thinking in terms of using it to generate a buzz or promote his skills at that point: "I never thought any of this of me as a producer was going to happen." The album has since been credited as starting the now regular trend for unofficial home-made remixes of whole albums.
9th Wonder began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother. As part of Little Brother he gained recognition and critical acclaim for his production on their debut 2003 release, The Listening. Jay-Zs studio engineer Young Guru was impressed with his work, and contacted 9th Wonder, which led to 9th Wonder producing "Threat" for Jay-Zs 2003 The Black Album. The cut proved to be a mainstream breakthrough for 9th Wonder, most immediately in the major production role he secured on Destinys Childs 2004 Destiny Fulfilled album that Jay-Z was instrumental in helping bring about. On the album, 9th Wonder produced the tracks "Girl" and "Is She the Reason," plus the bonus track "Game Over".
9th Wonder left Little Brother in 2007.
On October 29, 2007, 9th Wonder made a rare public appearance on BETs Rap City, alongside collaborator Talib Kweli. Madlib, Jean Grae and Erykah Badu appeared as well. In 2010, he appeared on BETs 106 & Park countdown with David Banner.
9th Wonder, E. Jones, and rapper J. Cole served as the lead producers of the soundtrack to the EA Sports video game NBA Elite 11. 9th Wonder and J. Cole also appear as "secret characters" in NBA Jam with a team name of Cole & Wonder.
9th Wonder debuted his rapping alter-ego 9thmatic in late 2009. 9thmatic appeared on songs with Khrysis and Sean Boog, Big Remo, Murs and Thee Tom Hardy.
9th Wonder worked with Mississippi rapper David Banner on a collaborative album entitled Death of a Pop Star which was released on December 21, 2010. After forming Jamla Records in 2010, he then went on produce for Jill Scott, Dilated Peoples, Big Boi of Outkast, and Anderson.Paak.
2. Its a Wonderful World Music Group
In January 2009, 9th Wonder announced plans to start two independent record labels, Jamla and The Academy, under his imprint Its A Wonderful World Music Group IWWMG. Jamla originally consisted of Skyzoo, GQ, Rapsody, Tyler Woods and Big Remo, while The Academy consisted of Thee Tom Hardy, Actual Proof Sundown & Enigma, TP, and The Away Team Khrysis & Sean Boog. The Academy artists were later folded into the Jamla label. Halo and Heather Victoria were announced as the newest members of IWWMG in October 2010. Jamla Records now consists of artists GQ, Rapsody, Actual Proof, TP, Halo, & Heather Victoria.
In July 2004, 9th Wonder officially debuted his production team for IWWMG. The Soul Council consists of Khrysis, E. Jones, Ka$h Dont Make Beats, AMP, Eric G., Nottz, Hi-Tek and 9th Wonder himself.
3. Recent and current projects
In 2010, independent filmmaker Kenneth Price documented 9th Wonders travels for an entire year. This included his times in the studio, classes he taught at Duke University, and performances with Murs at the 2010 Rock the Bells Festival, along with interviews with 9th Wonder about his life and career. All of this was compiled in a Lifted Research Group-sponsored documentary film titled The Wonder Year. The film features appearances by Drake, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, J. Cole, Murs, Lucas Rivers, Sha Money XL, Young Guru, The Alchemist and others. Price went on to direct music videos for artists on 9th Wonders Jamla Records label. In 2016, 9th Wonders Jamla Records imprint signed a joint venture with Jay-Z and Roc Nation.
In August 2010, Drake exchanged tweets with 9th Wonder on Twitter, expressing his desire to work with him again the first time being the production of "Think Good Thoughts" featuring Phonte and Elzhi for his 2007 mixtape Comeback Season. It was revealed in October 2010 that 9th Wonder would be producing for Drake on his second album Take Care, which was released on November 15, 2011. However, a month prior to the release, 9th Wonder said in an interview that he would not appear on Take Care due to A&R issues.
Singer Chris Brown recorded a series of rap freestyles over 9th Wonder beats. The first was released on July 18, 2011, on YouTube under the title "Real Hip Hop #3." This was followed a day later by "Real Hip Hop #4" featuring Kevin McCall. These tracks were included in Browns rap mixtape Boy In Detention, released on August 5, 2011.
9th Wonder produced Jill Scotts "Beautiful Love" ft. BJ The Chicago Kid on her 2015 album release "Woman". Rising Star Anderson.Paak also sought out 9th Wonders production for "The Season" and "Without You" featuring Rapsody on his breakthrough release Malibu released coincidentally on 9th Wonders birthday, January 15, 2016. 9th Wonder also collaborated with Big Boi of Outkast for the song "Put It On Her" for his release Big Grams in 2015. In 2017, Kendrick Lamar tapped 9th Wonder to produce DUCKWORTH., the final track on his 4th studio album, DAMN, where Kendrick tells the backstory of the meeting between his father and Anthony Tiffith, also known as "Top Dawg" from TDE.
4. Hip hop professor and academia
2007 saw a sideline move into music academia for 9th Wonder when he, along with Christopher "Play" Martin from hip hop group Kid-n-Play, was appointed Artist-In-Residence by the Chancellor of North Carolina Central University, and began instructing a hip hop history class in NCCUs Music Dept.
His role as a music professor has proven an ongoing one as in January 2010 it was announced that 9th Wonder would co-teach a class titled "Sampling Soul" with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal at Duke University. In an interview with HitQuarters, he explained the reason for the move into academia: "Educating the youth on where hip-hop comes from and the history of it, using the records we use, gives hip-hop a longer life. I decided to become an advocate of that." 9th Wonder also recently took on a course titled "Intro To Hip Hop Production"
9th has only continued his trek into the world of education, recently receiving acceptance from Harvard University to become a fellow in the Hip Hop Archive. 9th will spend three years working on a research project at Harvards W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. For 9ths project titled "These Are The Breaks" he will be researching the original records that created his top 10 produced albums. He recently told XXL that he one day hopes to leave producing behind for good to focus on academics. A documentary also created by Kenneth Price, "The Hip-Hop Fellow" chronicled 9th becoming a W.E.B. Dubois Fellow at Harvard University under the direction Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Dr. Marcy Morgan at the Dubois Institute at The Hutchins Center.
He has continued his involvement with higher education by lecturing at various universities across the United States. In September 2012, 9th Wonder visited the University of Michigan to speak on his beginnings in the music industry and hip hops role in the classroom. His involvement with some of the top academic institutions in the country has validated hip hop as a true art form. 9th Wonder served as Artist In Residence at the University of Pennsylvania in the Spring of 2016. In March 2017, 9th Wonder was the Artist in Residence at the University of Virginia, giving his final lecture in The Rotunda on the University grounds. Several other hip hop artists have found themselves on similar paths into the education realm including Questlove of The Roots and Bun B of UGK. 9th is currently Artist of Residence at North Carolina Central University, where he teaches classes in the Department of History, and Duke University.
9th Wonder was also appointed to the Executive Committee of Hip-Hop and Rap at The National Museum of African American History and Culture at The Smithsonian in Washington, DC. He also has an exhibit on the 4th Floor in the Music Crossroads Section.
5.1. Discography Solo albums
- 2018: Zion III
- 2012: Tutankhamen Valley of the Kings
- 2011: The Wonder Years
- 2017: Zion II
- 2007: Dream Merchant Vol. 2
- 2016: Zion
- 2005: Dream Merchant Vol. 1
- 2019: Zion IV
- 2013: Bladey Mae Grandmas Blades
5.2. Discography Group albums
- 2003: The Listening with Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh as Little Brother
- 2005: The Minstrel Show with Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh as Little Brother
5.3. Discography Collaborative albums
- 2015: Indie 500 with Talib Kweli
- 2003: Legsclusives with L.E.G.A.C.Y.
- 2005: Chemistry with Buckshot
- 2008: The Formula with Buckshot
- 2010: Death of a Pop Star with David Banner
- 2019: The Iliad Is Dead And The Odyssey Is Over with Murs
- 2006: Cloud 9: The 3 Day High with Skyzoo
- 2005: Spirit of 94: Version 9.0 with Kaze
- 2008: Jeanius with Jean Grae
- 2010: Fornever with Murs
- 2005: 9th Gate with Access Immortal
- 2004: Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition with Murs
- 2012: The Solution with Buckshot
- 2003: Shake N Beats Instrumental LP with Spectac
- 2008: Sweet Lord with Murs
- 2012: The Final Adventure with Murs
- 2007: Class is in Session with Pete Rock
- 2008: The Corner of Spec & 9th with Spectac
- 2013: Where Do I Come From? with Explicit
- 2015: Brighter Daze with Murs
- 2006: Murrays Revenge with Murs
- 2017: The Lost Tapes - EP with Mr. Cheeks
5.4. Discography Collaborative mixtapes
- 2011: TP is my Hero with TP
- 2008: Album Mixtape Volume One with Cans
- 2010: Album Mixtape Part 2 with Cans
- 2008: The W.ide W.Orld of W.Rap with E.Ness
- 2009: The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape: Curse of Thee Green Faceded with Thee Tom Hardy & Don Cannon
- 2008: 9 Wonders NYOIL verses 9th Wonder with NYOIL
- 2012: Hanes Mall 2: Silas Creek Parkway EP with Akello Light
- 2009: Back to the Feature with Wale & LRG
- 2010: The FreeEP with Actual Proof
- 2010: To Hanes Mall with Akello Light
- 2009: The R&B Sensation Mixtape with Tyler Woods
- 2007: The Graduate with Kanye West, Mick Boogie & Terry Urban
- 2007: 9th Year Freshman with CHOPS
- 2006: Battle of the Beats Round 1–2 with The Alchemist & DJ E.Nyce