Filed under: Albums,Not Your Average,Reviews,Steady Bootleggin',The Unkut Opinion
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Depending on who you speak to, either everything after All For One was rubbish or In God We Trust was an under-appreciated classic. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who considers any other Brand Nu LP’s to be worthwhile, which is not entirely accurate. Consider the long awaited return of Grand Puba and Alamo to the fold in 1998 to be a case of bad timing, but far from the cynical cash-in that it might initially appear to be. Since Arista was making a pretty penny from Bad Boy, it ‘ain’t no mystery’ that they leaned on the brothers from Now Rule to deliver them some ‘jiggy’ shiny radio-friendly material, which explains the atrocities that are ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Back Up Off The Wall’, while even some of the contributions from the D.I.T.C. production squad are uncharacteristically smoothed-out. With some careful editing, however, you’ll uncover some of their finest records since their universally-heralded debut.
‘The Return’ is the solid, if unspectacular, DJ Premier driven ‘comeback’ song, but as soon as the catchy riff of ‘Shining Star’ drops, it feels just like old times as the crew deliver a spirited rags to riches tale that hits all the right spots. ‘The Beat Change’ is noteworthy for a stand-out shot from the sometimes under-performing Puba, while ‘Brand Nubian’ and ‘Straight Outta Now Rule’ (courtesy of Buckwild and Lord Finesse, respectively) are worth the price of admission alone (whatever they’re charging for it in the cut-out bin these days). Not to mention that the sleeve design was laced by Tony Bones, who also takes no shorts on the design tip.
Brand Nubian - ‘Straight Outta Now Rule’
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