Beyond The Highlight Reel: 9th Wonder Talks To Quirky, Brown Love About His Journey To Success

When a creative entrepreneur talks about their career, we are usual given a list of accomplishments. The highlight reel. Where, however, is the transparent conversation about their shortcomings? 


Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th wonder is well known for his work with Little Brother and even more for producing "Threat" for Jay-Z back in 2003. Some people see 9th Wonder as having instant success; however, those people don't consider the thousands of beats that he had to make before he worked with artists such as Jazy-Z, Erykah Badu, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Douthit and talk to about how he became the successful 9th wonder that we see today. He stays transparent as he tells us about his struggle with dropping out of college, living in a non-entertainment hub city, as well as how he achieves his goals.
On Not Moving Away From His Hometown
"Not only are a majority of my artists from North Carolina, but all of my producers are from here, my staff is from here. I've never left to live anywhere else. You know, a lot of times if I see people that I've known for a long, I give them my phone number and they see the North Carolina area code, they say 'I thought you moved. You still live there?' I've been here.

"I lived in the Raleigh/Durham [North Carolina] area for 23 years and I've never left to live anywhere else. There's been plenty of artists that have stayed here, got their start here, left, lived somewhere else and came back. I've never left. Sometimes that's a good and a bad thing. Sometimes, I'm the person to blame because I'm the person that people see but that's just what it is."
On Dropping Out Of College
"To look your mom and dad in the face and say that I'm quitting and also to look them in the face to say that I'm quitting to do beats. My mom and dad are older than me by 30 years and they're looking at me like, what? These are children of Motown so they're like what's a [disc jockey]?

At the time I had two friends going for their PhD, one getting their JD. I'm supposed to take that path, you know what I mean. Instead, I'm in Raleigh in a two bedroom house living with six people, sleeping on the floor."
On Achieving His Goals
"Anybody from my label will tell you that I'm not big on excuses. I'm not big on 'I can't do it'. I know it all sounds like a fairy tale when people say 'you can do it, you can do it'. Like, you really can. Law of attraction is something else, that's all that I can say. It's something else."

On Finding Work-Life Balance
"This past semester, I taught at three schools at the same time: U of Pennsylvania, NCCU and Duke. I'm in go mode all of the time. Lack of sleep is definitely a thing. I guess that's the thing I tell younger folks, like some of my students. People in their twenties say I don't have the time, I didn't have time to do it. Like, once you start having kids and all of that stuff, you figure out time.
"I think, you know, when we are in our teens and twenties, there's a such thing as 'me time' that we like to believe in. There is no 'me time' when it comes to doing [music] and it's an around the clock all the time thing. Sometimes sleeping, you won't be able to do and sometimes eating, you won't be able to do. It depends on how bad you want it."

On Discovering Purpose
"You have to define what 'it' is for you. Everybody's path is not the same. Success is defined so many different ways. You have to define what success is for you and I think that a lot of people struggle with that."
How do you define success?

Random Note: Did you know that 9th Wonder and Erykah Badu are good friends? Talk about musical legends.

Photography credits: Source

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