Second Look: Brand Nubian – Foundation
Tuesday September 01st 2009,
Filed under: Albums,Not Your Average,Reviews,Steady Bootleggin',The Unkut Opinion
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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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23 Comments so far
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IDK I think Brand Nubian got close to 4 classic lp’s..All For One,In God We Trust, Everything is Everything, & Foundation all got considerable play to this day!!

Comment by 357 NYC 09.01.09 @

^ Agreed, apart from a lot of ‘Everything…’.

Comment by Robbie 09.01.09 @

Actually “Foundation” is a very good album, maybe 2 songs on there that i don’t like but the rest is great. Sadat X and Lord Jamar grew alot and they were not at all as far from Puba as on the debut. Lots of food for thought without being as provocative as on previous LP’s plus slamming beats from Lord Finesse, Diamond D, Buckwild, DJ Premier and Ogee.

Brand Nubian’s four first LP’s is great, the most underrated being “Everything is Everything”.

Comment by claaa7 09.01.09 @

Absolutely, Foundation is an incredible record. Probable Cause is my shit.

Comment by Elijah 09.01.09 @

Some poor soul sold this back to my favorite record store recently,I bought it used…and even my wife who is a 80’s pop,90’s R&B,and 70’s disco fan was feeling The Foundation cd.I was not feeling that”Everything is everything”joint-gangster Gods??-NAH

Comment by R.Jones 09.01.09 @

no doubt robbie… i recently rediscovered this aft i heard someone playing old sadat x and nubian joints on syrius at work and “back up off the wall” came on and i was like i gotta re-cop this album… no filler

Comment by er4se 09.01.09 @

and yeah in god we trust was a keeper just for “pass the gat” and “black and blue” alone… everything however was mediocre

Comment by er4se 09.01.09 @

and i just saw you think back up off the wall was lame? that beat is bangin…

Comment by er4se 09.01.09 @

yeah “Back Up Off The Wall” is dope but how you gonna call “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down” mediocre is beyond me.

Comment by claaa7 09.01.09 @

im not… but the diamond remix most def shoulda been on the album nucca

Comment by er4se 09.01.09 @

im sayin “everything” the album is mediocre…

Comment by er4se 09.01.09 @

The unreleased album “Time’s running out” is pretty good too

Comment by TheR 09.01.09 @

Yeah… I feel like Brand Nubian always had somewhat of a side to them that allowed them to make uptempo, party-ish records as well though- and that’s even evident with the first album. That’s why songs like “Back Up Off The Wall” and “Don’t Let It Go…” aren’t all that uncharacteristic of them.

That said, Foundation was a good album. I liked “Love Vs. Hate”, “The Return”, “Probable Cause”, and “Straight Outta Now Rule” amongst others too…

As for In God We Trust- yeah, that wasn’t a great outing at all. It had its moments, though. Biggest piss-off moment of that was that generic version of “Punks Jump Up”- they did the ol’ “remix fake-out” move with the single- blah.

Everything Is Everything- ehhh. Again, had its moments, but that one seemed like they were just throwing anything up against the wall and seeing what stuck.


Comment by DANJ! 09.01.09 @

I thought foundation was a dope album. I still got the tape somewhere in the house. Although the article may have some points about the jiggy p.o.v, there where like mentioned before many hot joints on the album but when you really think about it…



Comment by Curt McGirt 09.02.09 @

shiiiiiiiiit. they wouldnt have got clive davis money for this.

Comment by gx 09.02.09 @

first 4 brand nubian lps are classics…in god we trust is laced with heaters…pass the gat??? man that track says it all.

Comment by dialect 09.02.09 @

great album, pleased I picked up the wax as soon as it dropped…kinda miss the days of buying something I hadn’t heard on the strength of previous releases…Love Movement and Idlewild put pay to that

Everything is Everything is an acquired taste…to me its a concept album, I love the way the whole thing is reeeeal slow and laidback. Even the awful freestyles on Nubian Jam got me eventually – great production.

Comment by Jeffluv 09.02.09 @

I loved, and still love this record. Yes, there are some weak tracks, but there are a lot of heartfelt ones with great messages. This came out my sophomore year of college, actually it dropped the same day as BlackStar. I copped this on cd and that on cassette. This got regular rotation for a long time, and a lot of the tracks were spun on my radio show.

Comment by HipHipHistorian 09.02.09 @

I never understood why some (quite a lot actually) people are kinda dissing “Foundation” – I always liked that album and still do!

Comment by Blanco 09.03.09 @

why forget “Love Vs. Hate”(?)produced by Finesse..
definite winner – amazing loop, and a track i tend to go back to on that album, plus “Straight Outta Now Rule” and “Brand Nubian” both excellent joints.

Comment by P-Stash 09.04.09 @

The track with the sick western guitar riffs in the back real d.i.t.c.ish. Some old hang em high noon ish. Sadat killed it. Btw the sadat’s cowbows album was a slept on classic. Sauce for the birdheads was my joint..don’t sleep cause yot might slip!

Comment by BIN GRIM 09.05.09 @

wooonderful album.
i loooove “don’t let it go to your head” and, of course, “the return” (+ the intro).
maybe their 2nd best album.
1- all for one
2- foundation
3- in god we trust
4- everything is everything
5- the new one
all of them are, of course, good albums.
one of my favourite groups.
black cowboys!

Comment by backfromdeath 09.05.09 @

The Gods off The second LP has always been a favourite..

Comment by Beatlover 09.06.09 @

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