12 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Brand Nubian long excelled at playing the incendiary upstarts, they have always secretly yearned to be the wise elders, and Fire In the Hole allows them to finally assume that role. Reunited with Grand Puba for the second time following 1998’s The Foundation, the original trio still adheres to its street-smart, Five Percenter ideology. But here, that worldview is adapted to comment on the lives of three men who are now nearing 40. They used to deal with proselytizing and busting punks, now they rap about being Dads (“Young Son”), the tribulations of marriage (“Where Are You Now?”) and the perils of aging (“Coming Years”). It would be easy for the group to come as bitter old fogies, but Brand Nubian is particularly well suited to maturity. They are still angry and salty — Puba in particular retains the mouth of a teenager — but their powers of empathy have grown. They started out with an “us versus the world” mentality, but Fire In the Hole shows them accepting themselves as part of the world. Their detailed vignettes of humans from various walks of life speak to their experience as humans, and their talent as rappers.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Brand Nubian long excelled at playing the incendiary upstarts, they have always secretly yearned to be the wise elders, and Fire In the Hole allows them to finally assume that role. Reunited with Grand Puba for the second time following 1998’s The Foundation, the original trio still adheres to its street-smart, Five Percenter ideology. But here, that worldview is adapted to comment on the lives of three men who are now nearing 40. They used to deal with proselytizing and busting punks, now they rap about being Dads (“Young Son”), the tribulations of marriage (“Where Are You Now?”) and the perils of aging (“Coming Years”). It would be easy for the group to come as bitter old fogies, but Brand Nubian is particularly well suited to maturity. They are still angry and salty — Puba in particular retains the mouth of a teenager — but their powers of empathy have grown. They started out with an “us versus the world” mentality, but Fire In the Hole shows them accepting themselves as part of the world. Their detailed vignettes of humans from various walks of life speak to their experience as humans, and their talent as rappers.

TITLE TIME

More By Brand Nubian

You May Also Like