Lecturer in African American Studies, Duke University
Born Patrick Denard Douthit in Winston-Salem, NC, 9th Wonder is a Grammy Award Winning Producer, DJ, College Lecturer, and Social Activist. Since his introduction to hip-hop in 1982, 9th has been immersed in the music and culture of the art form, while gaining experience in music theory throughout middle and high school. 9th attended North Carolina Central University, where he decided to pursue a career in music. "Hip- Hop is the voice of at least 2 generations”, 9th says. “At one time, it was the POSITIVE voice… Chuck D was the black history teacher I never had, along with countless other black Americans my age. It can be that again, but with the right voices and the right players.”
9th Wonder, along with Phonte Coleman and Thomas Jones (Rapper Big Pooh), formed the hip-hop trio Little Brother in 1998. The group released the critically acclaimed album The Listening, which received 4 mics in Source Magazine. In 2003, 9th Wonder landed his first major label placement with the song Threat on Jay-Z's Black Album. This album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Next, 9th produced the songs, Girl, Is She The Reason and Game Over, for the R&B Supergroup Destiny's Child on their album Destiny Fulfilled. 9th’s production of Good Woman Down for Mary J. Blige’s The BreakThrough, garnered him his first Grammy win in 2005. 9th Wonder was then tapped to produce Erykah Badu's Honey on her album, New Amerykah Part 1 and 20 Feet Tall on New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh. This was followed by 9th’s production on Ludacris' Do The Right Thing, which featured Common and Spike Lee. Most recently, 9th Wonder has teamed up with David Banner on the highly anticipated album, Death Of A Popstar, due to be released December 2010. Next up, 9th is scheduled to produce for DRAKE on his sophomore album release. Additionally, 9th has produced 3 critically acclaimed albums with underground hip hop artist MURS, as well as an album with Hollywood actor Idris Elba.
9th was chosen by Aaron McGruder to score music for the critically acclaimed series "The Boondocks". In 2010, 9th Wonder scored the soundtrack for EA Sports’ NBA Elite 11 video game, due out 2011. He has also endorsed companies such as Beats by Dre, M-Audio Electronics, FL Studio, LRG Clothing Company, and Creative Recreation Shoe Company. 9th Wonder was one of 12 individuals selected by The Pepsi Corporation for the African American Calendar, "The First Of Many".
9th Wonder is the president, founder and CEO of It's a Wonderful World Music Group, which focuses on catering to the 28 to 40 year old demographic of hip-hop music lovers. 9th also hosts a radio show with Kyle Santillian on Soul 104.5 FM in Fayetteville, NC, called "TRUE SCHOOL RADIO," playing the first 24 years of hip-hop, along with 80's R&B, and New Jack Swing.
In 2006, 9th founded The True School Corporation with six other individuals to celebrate the music, culture, and films of 70's babies and The Spike Lee Era. True School was founded upon the idea that hip hop is a diverse, informative method of teaching. 9th believes in the preservation of Black Music throughout all its divisions (jazz, gospel, funk, soul, afro beat, hip-hop), and its connections to music enthnocology and the African Diaspora. 9th was recently appointed the National Ambassador For Hip-Hop Relations and Culture for the NAACP by Ben Jealous, President of The NAACP. There he leads a board of PhD's, Hip-Hop Artists, and Juris Doctorates. 9th was recently interviewed by Neill McNeill of FOX 8 News in The Piedmont, NC, for a segment entitled "NewsMaker", to showcase North Carolinians who are making a difference in the community. 9th Wonder is also a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, a hip-hop peace organization started by Afrika Bambaataa in 1973.
9th was appointed an Artist in Residence by former North Carolina Central University Chancellor James Ammons (now President of Florida A&M University) in the Fall of 2006. As an Artist in Residence, he taught the popular course, Hip Hop History. He was approached by Dr. Kawachi Clemons, PhD of Education, to develop a course called "Hip Hop in Context, 1973-1997", a study of the development and cultural history of Hip-Hop starting with James Brown in the late 1960's, going all the way to death of The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997. 9th is currently an Adjunct Professor at Duke University while still traveling the country lecturing at different universities. Says 9th, “Hip-Hop is now making its 20 year generational turn, and there are a new breed of artists who are children of the first hip-hop generation, that have studied that generation's sound, look, and feel. With President Barack Obama's message of hope, and the new movement of hip-hop hipsters... I plan to show kids the true manifestation of the hip-hop culture and lifestyles," 9th says. “As the late Curtis Mayfield said, we must educate as well as entertain."
His long-awaited solo album, The Wonder Years will be released on September 27, 2011. The Wonder Years, released via 9th’s own label, It’s a Wonderful World Music Group, features the single, “One Night”, with former Little Brother groupmate, Phonte Coleman, and Terrance Martin. The album is a compilation of collaborations between 9th and some of hip hop’s dopest rhymesayers, including Phonte Coleman, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Murs, Mac Miller, Terrance Martin, Kendrick Lamar, Rapsody, Erykah Badu, Big K.R.I.T., Pharoahe Monch, Warren G, and Marsha Ambrosius. Additionally, 9th’s documentary “The Wonder Year” will also soon be released. The film follows a year in the life of the Grammy Award-winning producer. "If there was ever a better time to express how I feel about hip-hop music, black music, or just music in general...it would now....on this project. My career has been from the depths of the underground, to the pop charts, but it has always stayed my sound, and what I believed in to be pure...welcome to the Wonder Years," says 9th.
These Are The Breaks
"These Are The Breaks" studies the underworld of sampling in hip-hop, and how a bridge is created to connect the pre-hip-hop and post golden era hip-hop generation.
Hiphop Archive Fellow, 2012-2013