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Brand Nubian

The Five Percent Nation of Islam was a popular inspiration for numerous thinking-man's rap groups during the early '90s, and Brand Nubian was arguably the finest of the more militant crop. Although they were strongly related to the Native Tongues posse in style and sound, they weren't technically members, and were less reserved about spotlighting their politics and religion. Their outspokenness led to controversy, on an even larger scale than similarly minded groups like the X-Clan or Poor Righteous Teachers, in part because Brand Nubian's sheer musicality made them so listenable regardless of what their messages were. The hoopla surrounding their aggressive Afrocentrism sometimes overshadowed the playful and positive sides of their work, as well as the undeniable virtuosity of lead MC Grand Puba's rhymes -- all showcased to best effect on their highly acclaimed debut, One for All.

Brand Nubian was formed in 1989 in the New York suburb of New Rochelle. Grand Puba (born Maxwell Dixon) had previously recorded with a group called Masters of Ceremony, and was joined by Sadat X (born Derek Murphy, originally dubbed Derek X), Lord Jamar (born Lorenzo DeChalus), and DJ Alamo (Murphy's cousin). The group signed with Elektra and released their debut album, All for One, in 1990. Most reviews were glowing, but the stronger rhetoric on the album -- especially the track "Drop the Bomb" -- drew fire from some quarters, including some white Elektra employees reluctant to promote what they saw as reverse racism. Ultimately, the uproar didn't really hurt Brand Nubian's career, but neither did it produce a wider hit with pop or R&B audiences, despite the high regard in which the singles "All for One," "Slow Down," and "Wake Up" are held. A far more serious blow was Grand Puba's departure from the group in late 1991, owing to tensions that had arisen over his handling the lion's share of the rapping. Not only did Brand Nubian lose their clear focal point and chief producer, they also lost DJ Alamo, who elected to continue working with Puba.

Puba released his solo debut, Reel to Reel, in 1992; meanwhile, Lord Jamar and Sadat X regrouped with DJ Sincere (born Terrence Perry) and issued In God We Trust in 1993. It sold fairly well, just missing the Top Ten on the R&B chart, and the single "Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down" was something of a hit, though it also drew fire for its anti-gay slurs. In Puba's absence, the pro-Islam rhetoric grew stronger, with more explicit support for the controversial Minister Louis Farrakhan. By the time of 1994's Everything Is Everything, they'd gotten downright dogmatic, and critics who'd previously defended the group now found them difficult to stomach, both lyrically and musically.

In the wake of the icy reception afforded Everything Is Everything, the remaining members of Brand Nubian drifted apart. Sadat X reunited with Grand Puba for "Play It Cool," a track on the latter's second solo album; Sadat also released his solo debut, Wild Cowboys, in 1996, and subsequently guested on records by a new wave of underground hip-hoppers. Lord Jamar, meanwhile, moved into production, and also landed a recurring role on HBO's prison drama Oz. In 1998, with a new alternative rap movement gaining prominence, the original four members of Brand Nubian reunited for the Arista album Foundation, which received highly positive reviews. Grand Puba and Sadat X both subsequently returned to their solo careers, but they returned with Jamar and Alamo for 2004's Fire in the Hole. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Hot s**t
I remember this ish from high school so dope! Graffiti,ska t e b o a r d i n g and hiphop, man :-) what happen to hip hop? :(
Yo in N.C. brand nubian say no more. Real s**t
nicko252008
Real sh*t take notes
info491797
..yup !
thro this in/on and just let it go...!
info491797
...can never get enough !
sounds good all over again again again !
Always loving this. Flows with style.
Brooooonx! The Boogie Down!
Bring real hip hop back!! This is what it's suppose to sound like.....
Thank you Brand Nubians...
I used to bump this album I don't know how many x. Definitely a classic! You're not a real head if you didn't f---k wit thus!
All Time CLASSIC ALBUM....Gre e k Picnic VA BEACH!!!! A MUST HAVE for any REAL hip hop head......
kenlop1
Dude does rap get any better? First time I heard this was on Ny undercover. Chris Webb guest starred on that episode. Was hooked on Nubian afterward.us e d to blast b4 word is bond on walkman before playing baseball/bba l l in hi school. Thankfully I got over the wanna b black stage but my love for rapnever faded. Rap is awful now.wish I was 16 again going to parties in da woods listening to mob deep/Nubian etc w/my friends just good times. Hip hop was our backdrop for everything back then. Glad I g
I had the pleasure of meeting these brothers at Cadwalder Park.They are real kool brothers and they definitely ripped it I mean they rocked the PARK that day
Don't sleep on Reel to Reel and 2000.
Classic!! But you all know Gran Puba is the group haha.
mitzrayim
thank God for shedding the 'blood of the 'slaves that ran on the 'land.
But lets praise God for the Colors of Redemption!!
sirmiles1
This s**t is Fire... check the flow... grand Puba. Yeah, straight bk feel, rapping at the block party type s**t.
THANK YOU FOR BRING OUR AFICAN ROOT TO AMERICA HOPEFULY IT WILL BRING LIGHT TO ALL OUR THIRD EYES
"It's natural that those benefiting from systematic oppression in a privileged position would not/be feel comfortable when truth sheds lights on the activities of Yakub's descendants. . . "
jeanjacque3
Ultimate road trip CD.
1 of the best group ever
whats u
Sa'id, this is y we have KARMA my brotha god...What went around,will surely come back around 2 the evilz that be! AMEN
102345716
huh?
Does anyone know what controversy the commentator is talking about? What does Militant mean? White folks always seem to call us militant when we talk straight about a non white American experience or justice for a long ugly history of violent white supremacy. There's no reversing history or any kind of reparations that would make up for dirt done by evil men, but admitting what has really taken place and not being afraid to see things from the perspective of another can help white folks be c
traciwicklif f e
SLOW DOWN...MY GOODNESS!
There is no such thing as 'reverse racism'! The targets of a bomb should feel shell shock. It's natural that those benefiting from systematic oppression in a privileged position would not/be feel comfortable when truth sheds lights on the activities of Yakub's descendants; mainly keeping the 85 in the darkness (deaf, dumb & blind). Peace to the GODS!!! Please Educate Allah's Children Everyday
One For All is on my top 5 list - skills & lyrics & music - all off the hook!
ngerding
So smooth
these brothers already said it. word up

You got that right !!!
jisrael333
Grand puba,young rappers take notes, thats how we used to do it.

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