Brand Nubian

Members Real Name D.O.B
Grand Puba Maxwell Dixon March 4th, 1966 New Rochelle, NY
Sadat X Derek Murphy (unknown by author) New Rochelle, NY
Lord Jamar Lorenzo Dechalus September 17th, 1968 New Rochelle, NY

Brand Nubian formed in 1989 after Grand Puba's original group, Masters of Ceremony, split up. Its first single, "Brand Nubian," was released in 1989. Signed to Elektra Records by A&R man Dante Ross, its début 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, though the album was still not a great commercial success. To date, the album has sold 350,000 units. A version of the video for the single "Wake Up," featuring a Black man in white face makeup, was also banned from MTV. On MTV, 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 tits début 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 début, Reel to Reel, which featured the hit single "360 Degrees (What Goes Around)".

Later in 1992, the Puba-less Brand Nubian released a hit single of its own, "Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down". The track was met with controversy over alleged homophobic content, referencing the Sadat X line "I can freak, fly, flow, fuck up a faggot/I don't understand their ways, I ain't down with gays." Despite the controversy, the single charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 77. Later versions omitted the line, including the version on the greatest hits compilation The Very Best of Brand Nubian.

In February 1993, the crew released its second album, In God We Trust. "Punks Jump Up" was included on this release, as well as the number-92 Hot-100 single, "Love Me or Leave Me Alone." The effort sold moderately well, fuelled by the crew's continuing controversy. Also in 1993, the group contributed a track for the Menace II Society soundtrack, titled "Lick Dem Muthaphuckas."

The group’s next release, Everything is Everything, was issued in November 1994. The controversy kept growing, with further accusations of music being analogous to alleged hate speech. The album received very mixed reviews and mediocre sales, despite the top-40 Hot Rap Tracks singles "Word is Bond" and "Hold On." In 1995, the group broke up, left Elektra, and launched 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, in 1996.

The original members reunited in 1997, contributing a song to the Soul in the Hole soundtrack, titled "A Child is Born". In 1998, the four original members returned with the album Foundation on a new label, Arista/BMG Records. The album received wide acclaim and featured contributions from a larger group of producers, including DJ Premier, Buckwild, Lord Finesse, and Diamond D. The lead single "Don't Let it Go to Your Head" became, at number 54, Brand Nubian's highest-charting single on the Hot 100. In 2000, the crew released the underground single "Rockin' It", then continued their individual pursuits. Sadat X released a solo EP in 2000, The State of New York vs. Derek Murphy.

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 the release of its fifth album, Fire in the Hole, their first release on an independent label, Babygrande Records. The album received mixed reviews and sold below expectations. Sadat X released another solo effort in 2005, titled Experience & Education, receiving mostly positive reviews. Jamar also furthered his acting career, recently 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, June 27, 2006, on Babygrande Records. Sadat X's third full length album, titled Black October, was released October 2006. In 2007 they released an album titled Time's Runnin' Out.

Photo credit: Mark Seliger


  • 1990 One For All (Chart position: #34)
  • 1993 In God We Trust (Chart position: #4)
  • 1994 Everything is Everything (Chart position: #13)
  • 1998 Foundation (Chart position: #12)
  • 2004 Fire in the Hole (Chart position: #57)
  • 2007 Time's Runnin' Out