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Brand Nubian performing live in 2008.
|Origin||New Rochelle, New York|
|Members||Grand Puba (1989–91, 1997–00, 2003–Present)
Sadat X (1989–95, 1997–00, 2003–Present)
Lord Jamar (1989–95, 1997–00, 2003–Present)
DJ Alamo (1989–91, 1997–2000)
DJ Sincere (1992–1995)
Brand Nubian is an American hip hop group from New Rochelle, New York, composed of three emcees: Grand Puba (formerly Grand Puba Maxwell, born Maxwell Dixon, on March 4, 1966), Sadat X (formerly Derek X, born Derek Murphy, on December 29, 1968) and Lord Jamar (born Lorenzo Dechalus, on September 17, 1968), and two DJs: DJ Alamo and DJ Sincere. Its debut album, One for All is one of the most popular and acclaimed alternative hip hop albums of the 1990s, known for socially conscious and politically charged content inspired by the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths. About.com placed the group on its list of the 25 Greatest Rap Groups of All Time.
Brand Nubian formed in 1989 and their first single, "Brand Nubian," was released in 1989. Signed to Elektra Records by A&R man Dante Ross, their debut album, One For All, was released in 1990. Generally acclaimed, the album drew fire for militant Five-Percenter rhetoric on tracks such as "Drop the Bomb" and "Wake Up." The controversy helped sales, although the album was still not a great commercial success. A version of the Fab Five Freddy-directed video of the single "Wake Up," featuring a black man in white-face makeup, was banned from MTV. On that channel and from official WEA sources, this image was replaced by a Baptist preacher. The singles "Slow Down," "All for One," and "Wake Up" all became hits on Billboard’s Hot Rap Tracks chart in 1991.
Shortly after the group's debut release, Sadat X and Lord Jamar began having problems with Grand Puba, which caused him to leave the group, along with DJ Alamo, to pursue a solo career. Lord Jamar and Sadat X enlisted DJ Sincere to join the group in 1992. The same year, Puba released his solo debut, Reel to Reel, which featured the hit single "360 Degrees (What Goes Around)".
At the end of 1992, Brand Nubian released the single "Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down". The track created controversy because of its homophobic content such as Sadat X's line "I can freak, fly, flow, fuck up a faggot/I don't understand their ways; I ain't down with gays." Despite of this, the single charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 77. Later versions omitted the line and replaced it with different lyrics, including the version on the greatest hits compilation The Very Best of Brand Nubian.
In the early part of 1993, Brand Nubian released their second album, In God We Trust, including "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down" and the number-92 Hot-100 single "Love Me or Leave Me Alone." That same year, the group contributed a track to the Menace II Society soundtrack, titled "Lick Dem Muthaphuckas."
The group’s next release, Everything is Everything, was released in November 1994. The album saw mixed reviews and mediocre sales, despite the top-40 Hot Rap Tracks singles "Word is Bond" and "Hold On." In 1995, Brand Nubian broke up and its members started solo careers in music and television. That year, Puba released his second solo effort, 2000, featuring another Billboard Hot 100 single, "I Like It (I Wanna Be Where You Are)." Sadat X released his first solo effort, titled Wild Cowboys (Loud/RCA/BMG Records), in 1996.
The group's original members reunited in 1997, contributing a song to the Soul in the Hole soundtrack, titled "A Child is Born". Another song, "Keep It Bubblin'," appeared on the 1997 Money Talks soundtrack. In 1998, Brand Nubian released the album Foundation on Arista/BMG Records. The album featured contributions from producers such as DJ Premier, Buckwild, Lord Finesse, and Diamond D. The lead single "Don't Let It Go to Your Head" became, at number 54, the group's highest-charting single on the Hot 100. In 2000, Brand Nubian once again teamed up with Buckwild of D.I.T.C., releasing the single "Rockin' It," after which the members, once again, pursued their solo projects. Sadat X released a solo EP in 2000, The State of New York vs. Derek Murphy, on Loud/Relativity Records.
Grand Puba released his third solo effort, Understand This, in 2001, which received little attention despite featuring his fellow Brand Nubian members. The original members reunited once again in 2004 for their fifth album, Fire in the Hole, released by Babygrande Records. Sadat X released another solo effort in 2005, titled Experience & Education, to mostly positive reviews. Jamar pursued his acting career, appearing on an episode of The Sopranos, as well as episodes of Oz, Third Watch, and Law & Order. Lord Jamar released his first solo album, The 5% Album, in June 2006, on Babygrande Records. Sadat X's third full-length album Black October came out in October 2006. In 2007 the group released an album titled Time's Runnin' Out, containing material recorded ten years earlier during the sessions for the 1998 Foundation album.
|One for All
|In God We Trust
|Everything Is Everything
|Fire in the Hole
|Time's Runnin' Out
|"The Very Best of Brand Nubian"
|Enter the Dubstep 2
|"All For One"
|"Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down"
|"Allah U Akbar"
|"Love Me or Leave Me Alone"
|"Word is Bond"
|"A Child is Born"
|"Don't Let it Go to Your Head"
|"Walking on a Cloud"
|"Who Wanna Be a Star? (It's Brand Nu Baby!)"
Singles chart positions
|Year||Song||U.S. Hot 100||U.S. R&B||U.S. Rap||Album|
|1990||"Wake Up"||#92||#5||One For All|
|1991||"All For One"||#17||One For All|
|1991||"Slow Down"||#63||#3||One For All|
|1992||"360 Degrees (What Goes Around)" (Grand Puba)||#68||#30||#1||Reel to Reel|
|1993||"Check it Out" (Grand Puba feat. Mary J. Blige)||#85||#13||Reel to Reel|
|1993||"Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down"||#77||#42||#2||In God We Trust|
|1993||"Love Me or Leave Me Alone"||#92||#68||#13||In God We Trust|
|1994||"Word is Bond"||#94||#64||#11||Everything is Everything|
|1995||"Hold On" (Feat. Starr)||#39||Everything is Everything|
|1995||"I Like It (I Wanna Be Where You Are)" (Grand Puba)||#91||#68||#21||2000|
|1995||"A Little of This" (Grand Puba)||#90||2000|
|1996||"Hang 'Em High" (Sadat X)||#98||#53||#12||Wild Cowboys|
|1996||"The Lump Lump" (Sadat X)||#85||#20||Wild Cowboys|
|1998||"Don't Let it Go to Your Head"||#54||#24||#3||Foundation|
|2000||"Rockin' It"||#29||"Rockin' It"|
|2000||"Ka-Ching" (Sadat X feat. Hy Tymes)||#36||The State of New York vs. Derek Murphy|