Little Brother Tells Fans Not to Support ‘Minstrel Show’ Vinyl Release Due to Royalties Dispute
Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer.
Little Brother is telling their fans not to support the vinyl rerelease of their classic sophomore album, The Minstrel Show. Earlier in the week, ABB Records announced that they were doing a reissue of Little Brother’s classic sophomore album, The Minstrel Show. Distributor FatBeast announced that the vinyl would be going on sale on their platform today (September 21.)
Within a couple of hours, Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh both blasted ABB Records, who has the vinyl rights. The duo claim that they have not received any royalty payments for their debut The Listening and The Minstrel Show for more than 15 years.
It was Rapper Big Pooh who sent the first shot. In a tweet the rapper said he was asking fans not to support the vinyl release, writing, “I see ABB Records has decided to put up a repress of The Minstrel Show on vinyl instead of answering for 16 years of non payment on TMS or answering for 18 years of non payment for The Listening. Humbly asking that you not support bad business practices.”
Rapper Big Pooh @RapperBigPooh I see ABB Records has decided to put up a repress of The Minstrel Show on vinyl instead of answering for 16 years of non payment on TMS or answering for 18 years of non payment for The Listening. Humbly asking that you not support bad business practices. Thank you for listening.
Phonte had his own message. He first went to Fatbeats’ Instagram to air out his grievance with ABB Records. (Fatbeats would eventually delete their own post.)
YOU ASKED FOR MORE!!!! We've got more. It's going up tomorrow 9/21 - 8am (pst)
Little Brother - The Minstrel Show (2xLP - Gold Vinyl)
Peace everybody, Phonte from @littlebrother_nc here. Hope everybody is safe and healthy.
I've done direct business with Fat Beats many times in the past and they've always done right by me, so this post is in no way indicative of their business practices. I hate to see a reputable company get caught in the crossfire, but enough is enough.
ABB Records hasn't paid us a dime on any of these Listening and Minstrel Show vinyl pressings. We haven't seen a royalty statement from ABB Records since 2004. Until they make right and do proper business with my brother @rapperbigpooh and I, we are humbly asking all of our fans not to buy any of this shit.
Thanks for your support
Then he made his own post on Instagram with the same messaging as Big Pooh. He wants royalties from ABB Records:
“… my brother @rapperbigpooh and I are asking that you don’t support any LB vinyl represses and stop running The Listening on all streaming platforms until Ben Nickleberry Jr. aka Beni B. of @abbrecords honors his fucking word and pays us what we’re owed.”
We are asking our fans to NOT support ABB Records by purchasing the repress of The Minstrel Show or The Listening. We have not seen a dollar from the sale of either record, ever.
I have no smoke with @fatbeats, but @abbrecords can get the entire fuck outta here. Either way, my brother @rapperbigpooh and I are asking that you don’t support any LB vinyl represses and stop running The Listening on all streaming platforms until Ben Nickleberry Jr. aka Beni B. of @abbrecords honors his fucking word and pays us what we’re owed. Thank you for listening. #LBbizness
Released in 2005, The Minstrel Show was the follow up Little Brother’s debut album The Listening. The album was released on Atlantic — their first and only on a major — and was mirrored with controversy. Editor-in-Chief of The Source at the time, Joshua “Fahiym” Ratcliffe, quit after his 4.5 rating of the album was reduced to 4 by owners Benzino Dave Mays. (Benzino later admitted he hadn’t listened to the album yet.) Then there was the snafu with BET, who allegedly didn’t play the group’s “Lovin’ It” video because it was too “intelligent.” BET would deny this somewhat saying,” It’s not true… not in that context.”
After The Minstrel Show, producer 9th Wonder would leave the group and Little Brother would go on to release three more studio albums, including their big comeback project May the Lord Watch, which dropped in 2019.