By Derrick Jean-Baptiste

Imagine the warm intimate setting of a typical concert. Hands moving up and down like the rising tide as the performers on stage reach and dance among the mass of strung together notes that burrow themselves into your very soul.

For those who enjoy music, these euphoric moments are owed to music producers. In the general public eye, music producers don’t get a lot of acknowledgment. They are not the ones promoting their albums on MTV or VH1, they’re not the ones you see plastered on billboards or feathered in T.V. commercials. Yet, according to a study conducted by the European Sound Directors Association, it is music producers that make some of the most popular music actually popular.

Music producers are extremely important to up and coming artists. In many scenarios, a producer might select each of the songs on an album, come up with the background songs for the albums, hire all the musicians backing up the artists and personally supervise every step of the music-making process. All in all, a music producer is to music as what a film director is to film.

In the realm of Hip-Hop, one of the biggest producers is Patrick Denard Douthit, otherwise known as 9th Wonder.  Thanks to FSC’s Center for Student Involvement, 9th Wonder is slated to give a Music Master class on Feb. 15. In order to grasp just why CSI has pushed for this event, you must first understand the importance of 9th Wonder.

9th Wonder is considered to be one of the best hip-hop producers of all time. According to an interview with PBS, the pieces that he has created have served as influences to many who wish to follow down his path. The production style of 9th Wonder is considered by many to follow a smooth and soulful sound that relies on samples from legendary R&B artists such as Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.

The North-Carolina native has had a music career spanning 20 years. In that relatively short time, he has released five solo albums and more than twenty collaborative albums.

The list of artists he has produced albums for is an ever-growing pool of titans in the hip-hop realm. This list includes Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Jill Scott, just to name a few.

After years of producing for other music labels, 9th Wonder decided to create his own label in 2014 called Jamla Records. This was a record in which he attempted to mold the talent of hip-hop’s future.

In 2007, 9th Wonder began a move into the realm of music academia. Over the course of his academic journey, 9th Wonder has given seminars and lectures all around the world. According to 9th Wonder in a sit down interview with PBS “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.”

In the last few years, 9th Wonder has brought his brand of music education to the lecture halls of Harvard University and other collegiate academies within the United States. In early 2017, 9th Wonder was chosen to select a number of hip-hop albums to be preserved in the Library of Congress.

It was for this reason that CSI had decided to bring him in for an eventual master class. Plans for this master class began late 2015 and has been in motion for over a year. Former FSC CSI worker Ebony Ramsey helped kick start this entire plan.

“I’m actually friends with 9th Wonder and I thought it would be a good idea to have a master class at Florida Southern….Not only does it seem like the students would be interested in it, it would certainly help them gain a greater appreciation for hip-hop music.”

9th Wonder will come to Florida Southern College April. 11 in Branscomb B202 at 7 p.m.


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