Hip-hop producer/rapper 9th Wonder grew from his D.I.Y. roots of releasing unofficial remixes to becoming one of the more influential producers in rap. His beatmaking style, marked by smooth soul samples and huge basslines, would grow to define entire eras of hip-hop. Over the years, 9th Wonder would work on hits with Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, and many other icons of hip-hop, R&B, and mainstream pop.
9th Wonder grew up Pat Douthit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a child he performed in the school band and also played keyboards at home. Initially, while a student at North Carolina Central University, Douthit planned on saving his money for the producer's favorite tool, the MPC, but after a friend showed him that he could make the beats he wanted on a computer, he decided to use that instead. In 1998 he met classmates and future bandmates Phonte and Big Pooh, and with them soon formed Little Brother. Their first album, The Listening, was released in 2003, and 9th Wonder began to receive further attention after he remixed Nas' 2002 album, God's Son, naming it God's Stepson, as well as the track "Threat," which he produced on Jay-Z's seminal The Black Album. Work with Murs, Buckshot, Jean Grae, Destiny's Child, and Mary J. Blige followed, as well as another Little Brother record, 2005's Minstrel Show, the same year his proper solo debut, Dream Merchant, Vol. 1, came out. In 2007, 9th Wonder left Little Brother and spent his time both producing tracks for the likes of Erykah Badu and Sean Price, and teaching a class on hip-hop at NCCU and collaborating with Boot Camp Clik's Buckshot for an album called The Formula, which was released in the spring of 2008. Two collaborative albums arrived in 2010, with Fornever featuring Murs and Death of a Pop Star featuring David Banner. A proper solo effort, The Wonder Years, followed in 2011, while 2012's The Solution teamed the producer with rapper Buckshot. Another collaborative effort with Murs, The Final Adventure, arrived in 2012, while 2015 was the year he dropped the album Indie 500 with Talib Kweli. In addition to production, Douthit sometimes rapped under the name 9thMatic. In 2016 he began a series of instrumental "beat tape" albums with Zion. The album collected dozens of unused beats from the vaults and was followed by the similarly styled Zion II in 2017 and Zion III in 2018. In addition to these solo releases, 9th Wonder's production for other artists continued without pause. In 2017 he worked on the closing track of Kendrick Lamar's Grammy-winning album DAMN. as well as Rapsody's Laila's Wisdom. The next few years saw him producing for 2 Chainz, Anderson .Paak, Black Thought, Masta Killa, and many others. ~ Marisa Brown