Entertainment

While you were sleeping, 9th Wonder dropped his newest album

A "hip-hop" academic? "9th Wonder" (AKA Patrick Douthit) talks about being one

Grammy-winning record producer has a side-hustle as a career university professor at Duke University and NC Central University. He's produced records with stars Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and others.
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Grammy-winning record producer has a side-hustle as a career university professor at Duke University and NC Central University. He's produced records with stars Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and others.

The always-prolific 9th Wonder, a Durham-based producer and recording artist, has struck again, releasing a new album – a very long new album – with little notice.

“Zion II” dropped late Thursday night, a veritable long-playing album with 43 tracks clocking in at more than an hour and a half of music.

Given the demands of 9th Wonder’s schedule with teaching and producing acts, including the Triangle-based Grammy-nominated rapper Rapsody, one wonders where he finds the time.

In any case, reaction from the Twitterverse followed quickly.

“Stop putting out dope music! I can’t afford it!!” one tweeted.

“9th Wonder just dropped a new beat tape. Nobody talk to me for the rest of the night. Matter fact, don’t nobody talk to me tomorrow, neither,” another said.

The album comes out on a big day for rap music as Jeezy’s “Pressure” and Eminem’s “Revival” also were released Friday. Jeezy’s album features a collaboration with Fayetteville’s J. Cole and two tracks with Durham native Gotti Rock Solid as a producer.

Wonder, whose name is Patrick Douthit, was just recognized with a Grammy nomination for his his work with Kendrick Lamar. Lamar is nominated for Album of the Year for “Damn.” Wonder produced that album’s final track, “Duckworth.”

He also has worked with Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Beyoncé with Destiny’s Child and many other musical A-listers. He won his Grammy through his work with Mary J. Blige on her her 2005 album “The Breakthrough.”

Last year, he was nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy, shared with Triangle-based Rapsody, for their work on Lamar’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

His academic career began more than a decade ago at his alma mater, N.C. Central, teaching hip-hop courses that were equal parts history and how to break into the industry. From there, he has gone on to teach and do research at Duke, Harvard (subject of the 2014 documentary “The Hip-Hop Fellow”) and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Listen to “Zion II” on YouTube, and purchase it on Apple Music.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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