It's been almost two and a half years since the Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder decided to launched two independent labels, Jamla and The Academy, under his IWWMG imprint. The North Carolina-bred beatsmith, who has worked with industry heavyweights like Destiny's Child, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu and so many more, created the labels to help nurture and groom the next generation of artists.
Known for keeping the soul alive in hip hop in a time where messages and integrity seem to be lost amongst a club friendly beat or trendy dance, his timeless contributions are both needed and appreciated.
Some up and coming artists on his label came to BET.com exclusively to salute their boss for the opportunities he's afforded them.
"One thing about 9thWonder is, that man has a heart. He is the heartbeat of NC. He ain't know me from a can of paint...heard a demo from a group I was rapping with, and da n*gga said "record to this beat." Shot me a beat and I shot a song back the next day. He saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to be heard by the world. He ain't have to do that, and as a result I feel that I'm in debt for life."
Here's the free download for his latest mixtape RobinHood Ree and you can keep up with him via Twitter @TheRealBigRemo.
"9th inspires me in ways that are indescribable in just a couple of sentences. With 9th, the relationship is more than music. Jamla is more than a song or melody - Jamla is the movement and I'm blessed to be a part of it."
On Valentine's Day he dropped a free mixtape The Mahogany Experiment. You can keep up with him via Twitter @TylerWoods
"9th is the merchant of dreams, in real life! He opened his ears, studio, time, and energy to help us make our dreams come true. He has taught me so much about work ethic, patience, the business and the culture; how to preserve the culture that I love so much and be a leader in this industry. In the words of Yoda, a Jedi's strength flows strong with the force, and the 9th is one with the force. That is why he is great. He loves and respects the culture over everything."
She is gearing up to release her mixtape Thank HER Now on June 21st. Until then check out Return of the B-Girl and you can keep up with her via Twitter @RapsodyMusic
Thee Tom Hardy
"Working with 9th Wonder to the degree that I've been able to has been a dream and a huge honor. 9th helped put North Carolina on the map globally for hip-hop and has gone above and beyond to help me and my labelmates at Jamla Records achieve success. In a day and age where the majority of producers give their best beats to the highest bidder, 9th is a one of a kind."
Download his latest mixtape Secret of Thee Green Magic and you can keep up with him via Twitter @TheeTomHardy
Last but not least, BET Music Matters artist Skyzoo weighs in.
"When it's all said and done, there's no way 9th's legacy isn't gonna be cemented in stone. His work as a producer alone guarantees that, and then add on him being a professor, ambassador, representative for the culture, the list goes on and on. Once all of that comes into play, it's a given. Beyond that though, 9th has never been afraid to co-sign something, stand tall for what he digs or believes in, or give someone or something a chance, whether it benefits him or not. There aren't too many people who'd follow that suit. 9th is a big part of why people know who I am as an artist. He was the first to show love and I definitely wouldn't have gotten where I am as fast as I have without that 9th start."
He is about to release his mixtape The Great Debater which will be released on June 7th. You can keep up with him via Twitter @Skyzoo.
Outside of his label artists, 9th Wonder also has a team of producers called The Soul Council. Khrysis is 1/7th of the team.
"9th is like my big brother. It's been amazing to watch his legacy grow into a modern day legend and it's a huge blessing to be a part of it."
You can keep up with him via Twitter @Khrysis.
A new documentary, The Wonder Year, follows a year in the life of 9th Wonder, not only the producer and label owner, but the professor, the dj, the father/husband and so much more. It features Drake, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, J. Cole, Murs, Phonte, Sha Money XL, Young Guru, The Alchemist & more. Check out the trailer below.
No official release date for the film has been set as of yet. Check out the 9th Wonder iPhone application for updates and peitition to bring a screening of the film to your city.
(Photo: Henry S. Dziekan III/Retna Ltd.)