Brand Nubian: Fire In The Soul

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 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?

Puba: That’s

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?

Jamar: It’s

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

street soldiering.

Again, Brand Nu helped defined the love track in Hip-Hop. Is there an update

to the saga?

Sadat: Definitely,

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?

All: Yeah

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.

Jamar: Exactly.

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?

Jamar: Fire

in the Hole

What’s that about?

Jamar: Fire

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.

Jamar: It’s

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.