Watch: Little Brother says they influenced Kanye West, not the other way around

Hip-hop OGs make it clear where they stand on Ye.

Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother, the rap trio turned duo from North Carolina, are celebrating 20 years of their debut album “The Listening” with a short tour and an upcoming documentary.

“Dear Culture” host Panama Jackson is a fan of the group and had a raw and uncensored conversation with them about everything from their evolution from college kids to fathers, to where things stand with former producer 9th Wonder. A standout moment from the episode included a comment made about Kanye West.

The controversial rapper did a song with Little Brother back in 2005, entitled “I See Now.” Phonte says despite their collaboration, he wants to make it clear, “Kanye didn’t influence us, we influenced him.” 

Watch full episode on theGrio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Credit: Matt Locks

The following is a transcript of that conversation.

Panama Jackson: There are a lot of groups in hip hop who will never be remembered. Y’all will never be forgotten. Like do y’all ever sit back, reflect on that part of it? Like y’all literally cemented a spot in a genre of music in hip-hop that will never be forgotten. 

Phonte: Um yeah, I mean Pooh I’ll let you take it but I’ll just say. I think it was more so you know, Kanye didn’t influence us, we influenced him. 

Panama: Yeah.

Phonte: So you know I just want to put that out there and make sure that’s clear. Pooh you can take it from here. 

Panama: Make it clear right, I’m with you. 

Big Pooh: Every now and again you have the moments where you like, damn, you know, look what we did. Or look at the impact, you know, that that we’ve had. But, you know, like, even when we when I saw they have put our name up at the Grammys when they was doing the fifth year of hip hop, and they had our name and it was front and center like that was that was one of the moments I was like, oh, censor word like, it was definitely one of the moments, it was just like, I expect us to always have quality. I expect excellence. But it’s still unexpected when people or when you step back and start seeing the high regard were held in. Not that we don’t deserve it. It’s just I’ve been so busy doing the work I don’t take a lot of time to. You know, sit back and acknowledge the work.

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