Published Thu, February 2, 2023 at 2:27 PM EST
When Brand Nubian debuted in 1990 as part of what some have labeled the second golden era, they helped spearhead a movement and paradigm shift in rap music.
Their debut, One For All, was released in the same year as debut projects by A Tribe Called Quest, Masta Ace, Above The Law, X Clan, Paris, and Ice Cube as a solo artist. Grand Puba, formerly of Master of Ceremony, Derrick X, and Lord Jamar continued the work that Public Enemy started only a few years before of educating the people over a sample based soundbed. Grand Puba, who the public elected as the group's frontman early on, was noticeably missing from several group interviews and concert appearances, leading the public to wonder if his presence in the group was only temporary.
The beginning of 1992 supplied the public with the answer, for at least that time. Grand Puba would not appear on the new Brand Nubian project. When the word spread that the group was releasing an album minus Puba, their fanbase questioned how effective the group would be without him. DJ Alamo went with Puba, and the remainder of the group enlisted DJ Sincere for the decks.
The first single from the album, "Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down," killed all doubt in the abilities of Sadat and Jamar to finish the mission. The Diamond D-produced original and remix remain among the group's most celebrated works. The single charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at 77. The group encountered some controversy as a result of a homophobic slur on Sadat's first verse, which he has since altered and has been edited on subsequent releases along with the same slur in Jamar's last verse. "Punks...." was the perfect set up for In God We Trust.
Diamond D told ROCK THE BELLS that previous work with the group led to their collaboration. "Based on our prior work on Tribe's 'Show Business' and my 'Day In The Life Of 3 Black Men' made it a no-brainer for us to collab on their album."
"Love Me Or Leave Me Alone" also reached the Billboard Hot 100 and received heavy primetime radio airplay with its safe subject matter and catchy Bobbi Humphrey loop. The album's other single, "Allah U Akbar" complete with an Arabic chant, was less commercially successful but followed the theme of the rest of the album.
The group subscribes to the teachings of the 5% Nation of Gods & Earths and songs like "Black Star Line," "Allah and Justice," "The Godz," and "Meaning of The 5%" pick up where the group first hit, "Wake Up," left off.
In God We Trust was a solid second album and a blow to the naysayers who thought that it couldn't be done.