Now Rule’s Finest

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One of the first reasons I was drawn to Brand Nubian was because they were from New Rochelle, NY.  They were local guys with popular songs, and although they didn’t seem to like white people much, I dug them.

When Grand Puba came out with “360 Degrees WHAT GOES AROUND“, I was in 9th grade and totally infatuated with hip-hop music.  His solo album Reel to Reel was the first actual CD I ever bought, before that my music collection was all tapes.  This was back when Sam Goody was on the first floor in the Galleria.  I loved that album, and suddenly my closet was filled with Tommy Hilfiger shirts.

I was in 11th grade when Brand Nubian came out with their second Grand Puba-less album.  They had one before it, In God We Trust, with the radio hit “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down” on it, but Everything is Everything was the one I used to always rock.  Just look at the cover and the placement of the parental advisory sticker, it’s amazing.  This album made me respect Sadat X so much.  His style was so ill.  And there are some incredible NY hip-hop beats on this album too.  Check out some of my highlights from the album…

Straight off the Head…You can tell they were just freestyling on this back and forth which was cool because no one ever really put freestyles on their album.  The beat is dope too, real slow with a sick bassline.

Alladat featuring Busta Rhymes…I’ve been listening to this song alot lately.  It’s like a Sadat X solo record with Busta on the chorus.  Fire.

Down for the Real…This was the one for me, with the Menace to Society sample and them rapping over a live band.  No one except The Roots was really doing that back then, and they managed to pull it off and still make the track sound gully and street.  My favorite song on the album.

And here’s a video for their second single off Everything is Everything, “Hold On”, filmed half in NY and half in LA…

Sadat X eventually put out a solo album too called Wild Cowboys which was cool (especially the title track), and Grand Puba dropped 2000, a second solo effort, before Brand Nubian reunited on Foundation in the second half of the 90’s.  And since then there has actually been a good amount of Brand Nubian related material released, group and solo.  But most of their best work is from the early 90’s, some of which was never officially released.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

Sadat X, Grand Puba, and Diamond D- I Flip Styles…This was my shit.  It was originally on an old DJ S&S tape, and it never got released on anything.  

Sadat X and Redman- You and You and You ORIGINAL VERSION…I love Sadat X on this track, and Redman comes in on the second verse and kills it.  This was on some random mixtape back in the day.  Frankie Cutlass released another version of it on his album, but it had a different beat.

Grand Puba and Sadat X- Play it Cool…This song is hot.  It’s from Puba’s second solo album, and it was the first time the two reunited on an album cut.

Grand Puba- Ya Know How it Goes…Solo Puba at his best, off Reel to Reel.

Sadat X and Notorious BIG- Come On…This was a mixtape classic, released officially on B.I.G.’s Born Again.

Sadat X- Straight East Coast–  This is an unreleased cut, and it sounds exactly like it’s title.

Since I moved to New Rochelle last year, I’ve seen Grand Puba walking on the street by the train station twice.  Both times I was driving by in my car, and one time I was actually listening to his album!  True story.  I wanted to pull over and tell him what a big fan I was and how his style directly influenced me, a whiteboy from White Plains who used to come to New Rochelle to play in summer league basketball tournaments at Lincoln Park and drink pitchers at O’Brien’s and Downtowns in high school.  Maybe next time.

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