Brand Nubian is a hip-hop group comprised of rappers Grand Puba, Sadat X, and Lord Jamar. The original line-up included two DJs by the names of DJ Alamo and DJ Sincere. The group was inspired by the Five Percent Nation of Islam and heavily used their politics and religion as the backbone to their lyrical content. The Afrocentrism of the group would become one of its main calling cards and drive its popular consciousness.
In 1989, they formed to release their first single “Brand Nubian.” A year later, the group would release their debut album One for All. The LP was critically acclaimed and controversial for its racially charged rhetoric and visuals. The video for single, “Wake Up” featured a Black man wearing white face. MTV quickly banned the video. The track “Drop the Bomb” reportedly caused some white employees of their label, Elektra Records, to not want to promote the album for its racially charged content. Still, the controversy made the album a critical success.
Grand Puba would leave the group due to in-fighting before the recording and the release of the group’s sophomore album In God We Trust in 1993. Everything is Everything followed in 1994. Finally, in 1998, their fourth album, Foundation, would reunite the original members, including Grand Puba. There would be a six-year gap between Foundation and their fifth album, Fire in the Hole, released in 2004.
Their final official release, Time’s Runnin’ Out, was released in 2007 and featured old material recorded between 1997 and 1998. While the group has endured inner conflicts, label switches, and a fair share of controversy amongst members, their classics including the aforementioned “Wake Up,” “Slow Down,” “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down,” “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone,” “Word Is Bond,” and “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head” are solidified rap classics.