Brand Nubian is an American hip hop group from New Rochelle, New York, composed of three emcees: Grand Puba (formerly Grand Puba Maxwell, born Maxwell Dixon, on March 4, 1966), Sadat X (formerly Derek X, born Derek Murphy, on December 29, 1968) and Lord Jamar (born Lorenzo Dechalus, on September 17, 1968), and two DJs: DJ Alamo and DJ Sincere. Its debut album, One for All is one of the most popular and acclaimed alternative hip hopalbums of the 1990s, known for socially conscious and politically charged content inspired by the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths. About.com placed the group on its list of the 25 Greatest Rap Groups of All Time.
Brand Nubian formed in 1989 and their first single, “Brand Nubian,” was released in 1989. Signed to Elektra Records by A&R man Dante Ross, their debut 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, although the album did not go gold it was still considered a commercial success selling in excess of 400.000 copies. A version of the Fab Five Freddy-directed video of the single “Wake Up,” featuring a black man in white-face makeup, was banned from MTV. On that channel and from official WEA sources, 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.