You have released the Candy Apple and North American Pie editions of Delightful Bars, what is running through your head halfway through the series?
I feel good about it man. I’m just happy to have some material out there for the people. I was just trying to put some good music out to the people. Whether it’s people who follow me or people who just want something new. I just wanted to get it out to those people and get their opinions on things and see where I’m at in their minds as far as where they see my development is coming.
You say you want the fans to see the development. What really do you want them to recognize with these releases?
I want them to think that I’m doing real well. You always hope that fans and people that are listening and purchasing your music are happy with your development as an artist and that they see and recognize the growth that you are going through. That’s what I want the people to see.
Do you feel you were recognized to your full potential after releasing Sleepers?
No. I just didn’t take or have the opportunity to really work that project the way I wanted to. I think it got overlooked by a lot of people because I didn’t take the opportunity and I didn’t have the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted to do. With this project I just wanted to make sure that I had the opportunity to make sure people knew it was out, number one. But just to really work it like an album.
This isn’t just an album though, it’s a series. How did this entire concept come about being that it was more than just sitting down and saying “let’s do an LP.”
That was a collaborative effort between my manager Big Dough, my graphic and design guy Tobias Rose, and I. It was just us wanting to present rap different. Not just the normal cut and paste, cooker cutter presentation with this project. So we just sat and thought of a way to make it all make sense and to have the presentation just be money. It’s undeniable. The music is undeniable and we wanted the presentation to be just as undeniable as the music and this is what we came up with.
The covers that you guys came up with are extremely creative. You can’t say this word too much in rap, but they are beautiful! (laughs)
How did the concept with the artwork come up? Was it Tobias Rose who put everything in motion or did you come up with the basics?
How it basically came about is he [Tobias Rose] had a general idea of what he thought would be the best route to take and came to us with the idea and we all added our different input to it. It was a collaborative effort on everybody’s part, just adding input to an idea and we wanted to make sure we covered all bases and no woman was left behind, (laughs) no pun intended, when it came to the covers. We got a little sample of everything and I think it came out great.
There was a version of the North American Pie version that was cut, why was that?
Yeah, we had a version prior to the version that is getting used. We just wanted to go with another picture that was cleaner than the one we had. Not that we weren’t satisfied with that but we just thought that we could do better. So we just went back in and did another shoot for it and came up with the new cover that we’re going to use.
Another version is called Japanese Daifuku, what is Daifuku?
(laughs) Man I think it’s some type of dessert. Because I actually had to ask my art guy and manager what it was and I think it was some kind of dessert. We were thinking of other things to change it to but – you know it might not be dessert (laughs) now that I think about it. They told me but I forgot. I was in the studio like, “Yo, what is Daifuku, what is this?” But yea, I gotta figure that out myself.
You have stated that the Delightful Bars series is a bridge to the Dirty Pretty Things album, why is that?
The best way I can explain that is, I look at that as some albums don’t make sense without the album in the middle and what I mean by that is like Outkast going from Southernlayalisticadillacmuzik to Aquemini. It doesn’t make sense without ATLiens in between. Like how do they go from this to that? Like that’s a big jump, but with ATLiens it allows you to see the progression and that’s what this project does, it allows you to see the progression. It’s not like, “How he go from Sleepers to Dirty Pretty Things?” as far as progression is concerned. That was my whole thing, to just allow people to see that progression. Also, to not want to leave people waiting too long for new material. I had a whole bunch of tracks sitting that I wasn’t doing anything with and instead of just having them go nowhere I decided to release them to the people and that’s what I did with this.
The tracks that have been released and are being released on Delightful Bars came from your sessions for Dirty Pretty Things?
Oh yeah. I actually started recording Dirty Pretty Things before we [Little Brother] started recording Getback. I then stopped to record Getback and then picked back up after recording Getback finished. I had so many tracks, I ended up having some twenty thirty something tracks, almost fourty tracks of material and I was like, “Yo, I’m not using all of this for Dirty Pretty Things.” Because at the time I ended up starting Dirty Pretty Things basically over when I hooked up with Young RJ so I had all this material and nowhere to go. So I was just like, “Why have it sit in the computer? Let’s put it out!” That’s how it came about.
Delightful Bars could have been presented as a mixtape series which is something we haven’t seen Little Brother or yourself touch on really. What made you stick towards the street album route to release all this material that you had in the vault while other artists would just push it out via internet mixtape.
I just felt that it deserved a bigger presentation then the mixtape presentation. That was the whole reason behind that. Like I said, I wanted to try the artwork thing, the covers, the way we put it out; I wanted to try it all. So I just felt that it deserved a bigger presentation then the way a mixtape presents itself. When you label something as a mixtape people kind of cast it off already or automatically people say, “Oh that’s just a mixtape, he probably didn’t go all in for that, he probably didn’t even put in 100%. It’s just a mixtape, he putting it out for free.” When something is packaged like an album people are like, “Uh oh, he had to of gone in, this is an album.” It’s just the whole perception between mixtape and album.
But honestly do you think a fan of Little Brother or yourself alone to pass off a mixtape as lower quality. Do you just not like to mess with the mixtape game?
Well, it’s not necessarily that I don’t like the mixtape game. It’s just that we prefer and I prefer to make albums at the end of the day. That’s just something that we prefer, not saying it’s right or wrong it’s just what we prefer. Most of the time, you know there’s very few occasions that I go in on some mixtape shit. I would rather take my time and create – if I’m going to write 64 verses why not pair those verses up and make 32 songs. Original songs. That’s how we always felt about it and that’s just how we carried on. That’s why all of our mixtapes sounded like albums, because it was all original material. We felt that if we were gonna take the time to get in and write these verses and make an actual original song then it’s worth it to package it in a certain way.
Like you explained before, Delightful Bars is a connection from Sleepers to Dirty Pretty Things, but how far of a stretch would you say Delightful Bars is from Sleepers. Can fans expect an obvious change in pace?
Not far. Like I said it’s just showing progression. As an artist of course it’s going to be a ways away as far as skill level, production level, confidence level, and marketing level. And all those things are definitely gonna be a ways away from but it’s just a next step in my progression as an artist.
Let’s get into the single you dropped for Candy Apple and North American Pie, “The Comeback.” Why did you choose that record to represent a good portion of the series?
I had the opportunity to release a few different singles with this record but this was one of the few times where I’ve actually been able to do exactly what I wanted and how I wanted to do it concerning the record. So I just took the opportunity and went with “The Comeback” and that was actually kind of like the buzz single that we let off first to the radio and all that and then my next single was actually going to be “Move” with Darrien [Brockington] but due to the response of “Rearview Mirror” we decided to switch gears and go with that next. Not even as a single type thing but that’s going to be the next video we gonna shoot and “Move” will be the next actual single. Just taking time to really work the record and put out songs that hopefully garner the record more attention and attract more people to the album and just have them flock to the record and hear the rest of it and enjoy what they hear.
Is it right to say that you owe the buzz of “Rearview Mirror” to having 9th Wonder on the boards for that particular record?
Most definitely (laughs). People were yearning concerning the rumor circling, yearning for that Little Brother sound. That’s what they want and that’s what they want to hear. Actually, I’m gonna say, the old Little Brother sound as far as 9th Wonder for “Rearview Mirror.” That’s the closest thing that people might have to it right now and that’s why they were drawn to it. Also, it tells some of the details and story as far as Little Brother the group and Justus League as a whole and the trials and tribulations we went through.
Besides the obvious contribution of 9th, Nottz is another premier producer in your arsenal. How much have you done with Nottz for Delightful Bars and/or Dirty Pretty Things?
I record a couple tracks with Nottz and one of them I held back because we were supposed to use it for Dirty Pretty Things, which now I don’t even know if it’s going to be used for that. Another one we had reocorded definitely for Dirty Pretty Things but I had ended up switching the beat, but I might go back to the original. But yea, we recorded a couple tracks and now we’re trying to figure out what to do with them. Half the songs we’ve done were in North Carolina and the other half were in Virginia and when I’d go up there he’d play something and if I was feeling it I’d just go in. How we work is, I record and as we go along I’ll be like, “What you think about that?” And he’ll give me his opinion on it and we’ll keep it or fix it and keep moving. So it’s crazy it’s not like there’s a lot of interaction when we recording together but it gets done.
What do you have as far as release dates for the rest of the Delightful Bars series?
We’re trying to get firm release dates on them now. So as soon as we hear a new release date we will put the word out and let everybody know. Just for right now we’re concentrating on the North American [Pie] release and doing promo for that and making sure people know that it’s in stores and that they can go buy it in stores and also they can go purchase the iTunes version or just get the songs that aren’t on the physical copy they can do that as well.
On “Nothing Less” we got an interesting guest verse from Jay Rock, how did you hook up with the west coast rookie?
Aw man (laughs) actually his man DJ Dave hit us up on MySpace and the funny thing about that is, normally when people hit us up on MySpace it’s a thing where it’s a new artist or someone wanting to be an artist. A lot of times the music aint good and it was just one of them things where I was just going through the MySpace stuff one day and I saw the email from DJ Dave and I just went and did my research. He told me it was Jay Rock from Warner and I did my research on google and I saw he did a couple songs and I listened and he was dope. So I reached back out to him and from there we started a recording relationship and I did a joint. And Phonte did a hook for a joint. He actually did a version of the hook on the song with Lil’ Wayne but it got switched to the Will.I.Am version. So we did that and then when I ended up going out to L.A. I ended up going out and kicking it with him and going out to Carson and kicking it with him and from there we just built a relationship and now when I go out to L.A. I check them out and we still do joints together and they just dope artists and real cool people. I like to keep relationships with artists like that going.
So Phonte did a version of the hook on “All My Life?”
Yeah there were three different hooks for that track. I don’t know who did the actual original one but Phonte did a version and Will.I.Am did a version and the label ended up going with the Will.I.Am version.
Wow, didn’t even have the slightest clue about that.
Yeah a lot of people don’t even know (laughs). They was releasing all the different versions and Phonte was the last version that was going to get released and when they got to his version the label was just like, “Na, we just gonna go with the Will.I.Am version so don’t put no more out.” But yeah there is a version with Phonte singing the hook on it.
How is everyone doing in the Justus League? Joe Scudda is set to release a tape pretty soon.
We’re actually trying to get him to finish that up right now. He likes to start stuff and not finish so we’re trying to get him focused and finish up this record so that he can get a record out. Chaundon is trying to put the finishing touches on his album, No Excuses, he’s got a couple more tracks to do but once he gets those done he’ll be ready to go. Darien just started going back recording and I think he’s got one song finished and its dope. When the song gets all the way finished it will be really dope but yeah he’s just getting back into recording mode.
You stated in previous interviews that the status of Little Brother’s recording career was something not to be looking forward to. What is the status now?
I think a lot of people took my statement out of context. It was more of me saying that at the present time we wanted to take a break to pursue solo endeavors. It’s not that we ever stopped being Little Brother, we still do some shows as Little Brother (mostly colleges and overseas). We just wanted to take the time to go out and put out solo stuff. Phonte put out the second Foreign Exchange record and he’s doing touring off of that and I put out the Delightful Bars and he’s working on another solo record, he’s working on an actual solo record, and I’m obviously trying to finish up Dirty Pretty Things. We just wanted to get all of that stuff done and take the time to do that and then come back and do another Little Brother record. We went from Chitlin’ Circuit 1.5 to the Minstrel Show to Gangsta Grillz to And Justus for All to Getback without any breaks so we just knew it was time to take a break.