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Patrick Douthit (born January 15, 1975 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina), better known as 9th Wonder is a hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and Rapper from Durham, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother, and has also worked with Mary J. Blige, Jean Grae, Wale, Jay-Z, Murs, Drake, Buckshot, Chris Brown, Destiny's Child, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Mac Miller, David Banner, and Lecrae. As of 2010, 9th Wonder raps under the name of 9thmatic.
9th Wonder has a smooth and soulful production style that relies on samples from artists such as Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. He attributes the bass lines that he uses in production to DJ Premier, Pete Rock and J Dilla, while he claims to have learned the sampling of "Wails and moans" from other works of music and where to position them in his songs from RZA.[clarification needed]
9th Wonder's first significant career breakthrough came in 2003 when, as an up-and-coming producer, he released an unofficial remix album of Nas' 2002 album God's Son entitled God's 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 and that 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-Z's studio engineer Young Guru was impressed with his work, and contacted 9th Wonder, which led to 9th Wonder producing "Threat" for Jay-Z's 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 Destiny's Child's 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 BET's Rap City, alongside collaborator Talib Kweli. Madlib, Jean Grae and Erykah Badu appeared as well. In 2010, he appeared on BET's 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.
It's A Wonderful World Music Group, Jamla Records
In January 2009, 9th Wonder announced plans to start two independent record labels, Jamla and The Academy, under his imprint It's 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.
In July 2010, 9th Wonder officially debuted his production team for IWWMG. The Soul Council consists of Khrysis, E. Jones, Fatin "10" Horton, Ka$h Don't Make Beats, AMP, eric g., and 9th Wonder himself.
Recent and current projects
In 2010, independent filmmaker Kenneth Price documented 9th Wonder's 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 Wonder's Jamla Records label.
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 sophomore 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 Brown's rap mixtape Boy In Detention, released on August 5, 2011.
Hip Hop Professor
2007 saw a sideline move into music academia for 9th Wonder when, along with Christopher "Play" Martin from hip hop group Kid-n-Play, he was appointed Artist-In-Residence by the Chancellor of North Carolina Central University, and began instructing a hip hop history class in NCCU's 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 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 Harvard's W.E.B. Dubois Institute. For 9th's 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 will also be created by Kenneth Price, chronicling 9th's journey as a Harvard fellow.
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 hop's 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. 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 Wonder and Black Jeruz are the spokespeople for the Durham-P'Tones Records Studio which is partnered with North Carolina Central University. The new location for the P'Tones studio is currently being decided. 9th Wonder still resides in North Carolina. He has announced his dedication to the community in Durham, NC by joining P'Tones Records, whose Mission Statement is "to create constructive opportunities for inner city youth through no-cost neighborhood music programs." The organization's goal is to give students the opportunity to run a record label, creating music and merchandise while learning about the music industry. Former Professor Kawachi Clemons and founder (of P'Tones) Oren Rosenbaum opened the NCCU-P'Tones studio. The program is set to begin February 2010. Dr. Smith has replaced Dr. Clemons as the point man from NCCU. As of August 1, P'Tones is fundraising through the Pepsi Refresh Project.