One for All (Brand Nubian album)

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One For All
Studio album by Brand Nubian
Released December 4, 1990
Recorded 1989–1990
Genre Hip hop
Length 71:34
Label Elektra
60946
Producer Brand Nubian, Dante Ross (also exec.), Dave "Jam" Hall, Skeff Anselm, Stimulated Dummies
Brand Nubian chronology
One for All
(1990)
In God We Trust
(1993)
Singles from One for All
  1. "Brand Nubian"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Feel So Good"
    Released: 1990
  3. "Wake Up"
    Released: November 7, 1990
  4. "Slow Down"
    Released: March 27, 1991
  5. "All for One"
    Released: September 5, 1992
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[3]
The New York Times (favorable)[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]
The Source 5/5 stars[6]
Trouser Press (favorable)[7]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[8]

One for All is the debut album by American hip hop group Brand Nubian. It was released by Elektra Records on December 4, 1990. The album was highly acclaimed for its politically charged and socially conscious content. Sales never matched the wide acclaim — the album has only sold 350,000 copies as of May 2013[citation needed] — but it has remained in print since its 1990 release.

The album is mainly produced by Brand Nubian, but it also features production by Skeff Anselm, Stimulated Dummies, and Dave "Jam" Hall. The album's production contains many motifs of hip hop's golden age including James Brown-sampled breakbeats and funky R&B loops. The album is broken down track-by-track by Brand Nubian in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique.[9]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

One for All charted at number 130 on the U.S. Billboard 200, spending 28 weeks on the chart.[10] It also reached number 34 on the Billboard Top Black Albums chart, on which it spent 40 weeks.[10] Alex Henderson of Allmusic writes of the album's commercial performance, "In black neighborhoods of New York and Philadelphia, [One for All] was actually a bigger seller than many of the platinum gangsta rap releases outselling it on a national level."[1]

Critical response[edit]

One for All was a critical success upon its release.[11] Los Angeles Times writer Steve Hochman called it "an impressive debut" and commended "the power of the lessons delivered with style and creativity", stating "There's a playful ease to this record recalling the colorful experiments of De La Soul, and there's as much sexual boasting as Islamic teaching."[3] Jon Pareles of The New York Times described the album as "a peculiar merger of sexual boasting, self-promotion and occasional political perspective."[4] J the Sultan of The Source gave it the publication's maximum five-mike rating and wrote that it "overflows with creativity, originality, and straight-up talent. [...] the type of record that captures a whole world of music, rhymes and vibes with a completely new style."[6] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave On for All an A- rating,[2] indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction. Anyone open to its aesthetic will enjoy more than half its tracks."[12] He commented that "most black-supremacist rap sags under the burden of its belief system just like any other ideological music," but quipped, "This Five Percenter daisy-age is warm, good-humored, intricately interactive—popping rhymes every sixth or eighth syllable, softening the male chauvinism and devil-made-me-do-it with soulful grooves and jokes fit for a couch potato."[2]

It has since received retrospective acclaim from publications such as Allmusic, Rolling Stone, and ego trip.[8] Allmusic editor Alex Henderson complimented the group's "abstract rapping style" and stated, "On the whole, Nubian's Nation of Islam rhetoric isn't as overbearing as some of the recordings that other Five Percenters were delivering at the time."[1] In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), music journalist Peter Relic gave the album four out of five stars and stated, "they had a sobering lyrical style equally effective whether promoting African-American consciousness ('Concerto in X Minor') or telling hoes to chill (the Edie Brickell-sampling 'Slow Down')".[5] Trouser Press writer Jeff Chang praised the group's "marriage of party groove and polemical grit" and cited the album as "a high point of East Coast hip-hop".[7]

Accolades[edit]

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums and its lead single "Slow Down" was featured on the publication's 100 Best Hip-Hop Singles of All Time list.[13] One year later, Rolling Stone placed it on a list of the Essential Recordings of the 90's.[14] It was additionally ranked #2 on ego trip's 1999 list of "Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year (1980–98)".[8]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer(s) Sample(s)
1 "All for One" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba, Sadat X,
Lord Jamar
2 "Feels So Good"
(CD Bonus Track)
M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Brand Nubian,
Dante Ross
Sadat X, Grand Puba,
Lord Jamar
  • "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel
  • "Sing a Happy Song" by War
3 "Concerto in X Minor" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Sadat X
  • "Walk Tall" by Cannonball Adderley
  • "Niggers Are Scared of Revolution" by The Last Poets
  • "Run, Nigger" by The Last Poets
  • "When the Revolution Comes" by The Last Poets
  • "New York, New York" by The Last Poets
4 "Ragtime" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus, S. Anselm
Skeff Anselm Grand Puba, Sadat X,
Lord Jamar
5 "To the Right" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba, Sadat X,
Lord Jamar
  • "Funky President" by James Brown
6 "Dance to My Ministry" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Lord Jamar
7 "Drop the Bomb" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba, Lord Jamar,
Sadat X
8 "Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix)" M. Dixon, D. Ross,
J. Gamble, G. Dajani
Stimulated Dummies Grand Puba
9 "Step to the Rear" M. Dixon, D. Ross,
J. Gamble, G. Dajani
Stimulated Dummies Grand Puba
  • "Just A Friend" by Biz Markie
  • "Oh Babe" by Cannonball Adderley
  • "Tramp" by Lowell Fulson
  • "Plantation Inn" by Mar-Keys
  • "Smooth Operator" by Big Daddy Kane
10 "Slow Down" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus, K. Withrow,

E. Brickell
J. Houser, J. Bush,
A. Aly

Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Sadat X, Lord Jamar,
Grand Puba
11 "Try to Do Me" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus, D. Hall
Dave "Jam" Hall Grand Puba
12 "Who Can Get Busy Like This Man..." M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Sadat X, Grand Puba
  • "Popcorn with Feeling" by James Brown
13 "Grand Puba, Positive and L.G." M. Dixon, A. Arrington,
C. Carter
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba, Positive K
14 "Brand Nubian"
(CD Bonus Track)
M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Brand Nubian, Dante Ross Lord Jamar, Sadat X,
Grand Puba
15 "Wake Up (Reprise
in the Sunshine)"
M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba
16 "Dedication" M. Dixon, D. Murphy,
L. Dechalus
Grand Puba & Brand Nubian Grand Puba

Personnel[edit]

Credits for One for All adapted from Allmusic.[15]

  • Skeff Anselm – producer
  • Carol Bobolts – design
  • Brand Nubian – producer
  • Geeby Dajani – mixing, producer
  • John Gamble – mixing, producer
  • Grand Puba – producer
  • D. Hall – mixing, producer
  • Dante Ross – executive producer, mixing, producer
  • Mark Seliger – photography

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1991)[10] Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 130
U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 34

Singles[edit]

Song Chart (1991)[16] Peak
position
"Slow Down" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 63
U.S. Hot Rap Singles 3
"Wake Up" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 92
U.S. Hot Rap Singles 5
Song Chart (1992) Peak
position
"All for One" U.S. Hot Rap Singles 17

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex (November 1, 2001). "One for All – Brand Nubian". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Review. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (February 26, 1991). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (Village Voice Media). Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b Hochman, Steve (May 5, 1991). "Rating the New Rappers". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  4. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (December 16, 1990). "'Radical' Rap: Of Pride and Prejudice". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). sec. 2, p. 6. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  5. ^ a b Rolling Stone (2004), p. 102.
  6. ^ a b J the Sultan (December 1990). "Brand Nubian, One for All (Elektra Records)". The Source (David Mays) (56). 
  7. ^ a b Chang, Jeff (March 7, 1997). "Brand Nubian". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  8. ^ a b c "Acclaimed Music – One for All". AcclaimedMusic.net. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  9. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c "One for All – Brand Nubian". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  11. ^ Herrmann, Brenda (February 22, 1993). "Religious Rappers". Chicago Tribune (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 15, 2000). "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  13. ^ "The Source 100 Best Rap Albums". RockList.net. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  14. ^ "Brand Nubian One For All CD". CDUniverse.com. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  15. ^ "One for All – Brand Nubian". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Credits. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  16. ^ "Brand Nubian > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved August 30, 2008. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]