Little Brother is done. LeftBack is their last album. In all honesty, it's not like we haven't seen this coming. Once 9th Wonder left the group, they lost a big part of their marketability and chemistry. GetBack was a great album in its own right, but it just wasn't the same group took underground hip hop by storm with every album and mixtape. They lost a lot of the chemistry that made them so successful in the first place. LeftBack has exactly the same problem: Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh are as good as ever, but their music just isn't that unique anymore.
"Good beats, good rhymes, what more do ya'll want?" Phonte wrote that back in 2007, and it's just as true today - Little Brother cranks out quality music, and there's not much to complain about. Once the beat starts, it's the same formula - Phonte spits some of the best, most clever verses in hip hop, and Big Pooh supports with a louder, blunter style. And as always, it works great.
The beats part of the equation is more of a mixed bag. There are three types of beats here: cheap 9th Wonder knockoffs, R&B wannabe cuts, and the greatness of "24" (more on that later). After opening on a terrible note in "Curtain Call," the production is solid, but completely unextraordinary. The first half of the album is sounds like it was left off The Minstrel Show, and the second half's R&B cuts are both basic and unexciting. They function just well enough to stay out of the way, which is OK when the rappers are this good, but not good enough to make great music.