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A North Carolina kid with an acute ear for East Coast boom-bap, a stuffy traditionalist who bounced Pete Rock’s analog precision into a cheapo computer program Fruity Loops — producer 9th Wonder thrives on contradictions. His beats gain much of their power from a hypnotic tension: robotic loops interacting with warm, glowing grooves of old soul. It’s that pressure that built the first two Little Brother albums, Jay-Z’s “Threat,” Destiny’s Child’s “Girl,” and much more — and this battle is no different than the avant-motorik vs. jam-band binaries that keep AnCo’s peculiar pulse going.

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