Brand Nubian: Fire In The Soul
By Topher Sanders
It’s been more than half a decade since we’ve heard from Lord Jamar,
Sadat X, Alamo, and Grand Puba as the collective Brand Nubian. In that time,
the quartet has kept busy with solo projects, acting, and simply being family
Now signed to Babygrande
Records, Brand Nubian is prepped to reintroduce the industry to a cohesive quality
lost in the age of obsessive guest spots and trendy production techniques.
Here, Brand Nubian
speaks with Allhiphop.com about their new album while firing some venom at the
media for helping to perpetuate negative stereotypes about minority fathers.
Was it difficult to get Brand Nubian back together.
Jamar: No not at
all, that happen a while ago, like 96’ or 97’ and we recorded a
whole album’s worth of stuff that never came out.
Puba: Ya know the
whole thing wasn’t something that was that dramatic; like we was never
gonna speak to each other again. It was more that people had different things
they wanted to do. So we tried new things and came back together when the time
was right. It wasn’t like we had to sit down and say, “Man, let’s
get back together.’ It was a natural thing that just happened.
Why do you think hip hop groups seem to have such a problem staying together?
kind of a hard question, ‘cause we can only speak about our situation.
Jamar: Black people
as a whole have a problem sticking together, so why would you expect some rap
groups to be different than society.
Sadat: Yeah, that’s
like back to the Temptations.
There was always a distinct attitude to each record in your catalog. What’s
the theme on this album?
got different themes. It has a real optimistic theme, we got regular relationship
themes about men and women, just classic Brand Nubian stuff. We got some science
type joints, we got a joint called “Soldier Story” that deals with
Again, Brand Nu helped defined the love track in Hip-Hop. Is there an update
to the saga?
It’s called “Always be Mine.”
On Foundation, you brought in Premier. Diamond and Dante Ross were always big
players in your sound too. What’s the production bill look like now that
you’re on an Indie?
Jamar: I did most
of the joints and Alamo did like two tracks, we just kept it in the family.
We’ve given the album a nice cohesive sound.
That cohesiveness can be absent from a lot of hip hop albums.
Jamar: Yeah, ‘cause
everybody is just making a bunch of singles, they’re not making albums.
They are not making their own sounds, they’re using other peoples sounds.
See when you listen to a Brand Nubian album or a Tribe album or a Public Enemy
joint, you are being brought into our world. Whereas a lot of these other dudes
are just going into somebody else’s world, they’re not creating
a world, they are just existing.
Does being on a label like Babygrande do anything for Brand Nubian?
Jamar: It does
a lot for Brand Nubian. Babygrande gives us more control over everything, it
takes away the major label pressure and bulls**t.
What kind of pressure?
Jamar: If you don’t
sell platinum, you ain’t making no real paper. On an independent label,
we sell what we’ve been selling and we straight.
Puba, you always use to have a crazy car featured on your albums, you got something
new you playing with?
Puba: Yeah, I’m
about to play with that QX56 Infinity truck.
You gona do something special to it?
Puba: Nah, I’m
a grown man now, I’m going to keep it pretty much basic. I’ll put
some bigger wheels on it, but not chrome.
Speaking of being a grown man, all of you are fathers right?
Well, it seems that everyday you hear something about how minority men aren’t
taking care of their families, what do you think we can do to reverse that trend?
Jamar: You know
I think that’s some media bulls**t right there, ‘cause I know mad
dudes that take care of their kids. I know dudes that are taking care of kids
that are not even theirs. I think that some s**t they put in the media to black
males in a certain way. Yeah there some people who don’t take care of
children, but people that I personally know, they do take care of their kids.
Sadat: S**t, you’re
looked at as a fool if don’t.
In the world I live in, and I don’t think I live in a strange world, that
s**t that their talking about is not the norm. Most of the cats our age grew
up without fathers, so they know what it’s like, so they ain’t trying
to do that s**t to they kids.
What’s the title of the new Album?
in the Hole
What’s that about?
in the Hole. That’s what you say when you drop and grenade right
before it blows. The music is fire.
What can we expect musically?
Puba: Classic Brand
Nubian s**t, just upgraded.
the same, aint’ nothing changed, it’s standard Brand Nubian. You
still going to hear science and knowledge and certain comments of a political
I heard about a possible Nas collaboration, did that ever happen?
Puba: Nah, that
didn’t end up happening, schedules conflicted. Maybe in the future, a
remix or something like that.
Speaking of politics are you gonna vote this year?
Jamar: Man. Ya
know, I don’t think so man. I’m almost tempted to because of Bush
and all that. But I’ve never really been into it like that, that sort
of politics where I’m trying to work within the system in that kind of
way. They’ve proven that your vote doesn’t count. I don’t
really come from that school of voting, I come from more of a school of revolution.
What else would you like to say?
Jamar: The wait
is over, August 10th, go get it, Fire in the Hole. It’s classic Brand
Nubian, you won’t be disappointed. It will be an album that you can listen
to from beginning to finish.