Brand Nubian was one of the most underrated hip-hop acts of the early Nineties. Most folks throw bones to groups like Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gang Starr, and the Native Tongues collective. But Brand Nubian was just as ubiquitous, whether as a group, solo, or guest-starring on other tracks, such as A Tribe Called Quest's "The Business". After disbanding in '95, they reunited to release The Foundation in '98. Six years later, they follow with Fire In The Hole.
This album is tight. While most acts tend to fizzle with age, Brand Nu has stayed the course of quality. The beats are moody, but not syrupy or depressing. These grownups send some words of the wise to the kids, in "Young Son". Though they've matured, they still tackle topics a lot of young cats rap about, like war ("Soldier's Story") and poverty ("Still Livin' In The Ghetto"). I dare you not to hug moms after listening to "Momma"-- an ode to that most special of ladies. And "Ooh Child" loops the well-known Five Stairsteps song of the same name.
Other standout tracks include the album's first song (and first single), "Who Wanna Be a Star? (It's Brand Nu Baby!)" and "Just Don't Learn".
If you are new to the sounds of Brand Nubian, I would recommend picking up their back catalogue in addition to Fire In The Hole. For longtime Brand Nu fans, definitely cop this.