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Grand Puba, born Maxwell Dixon, is best known as the sage lead rapper of Brand Nubian for the group's classic first album, One for All (1990), and the well-regarded reunion album, Foundation (1998). A native of New Rochelle, New York, Dixon made his commercial debut a little earlier with Masters of Ceremony, a group that recorded for M-Low, Strong City, and the larger 4th & Broadway. Shortly after he left Brand Nubian due to some interpersonal conflict, Dixon debuted as a solo artist with Reel to Reel (1992). Released on Elektra, the same major label that supported Brand Nubian, the album featured the excellent singles "360 Degrees (What Goes Around)" and "Check It Out" (with Mary J. Blige) and reached number 28 on the Billboard 200. Never the most prolific rap artist, Dixon issued a second Elektra solo album, 2000 (1995), a few years later, and then recorded infrequently for a handful of independents. The Brand Nubian reunion regained some commercial momentum, but third solo album Understand This (2001) arrived three years afterward. Retroactive (2009), recorded for Babygrande, included productions by Q-Tip and Large Professor, as well as guest verses from Brand Nubian mates Sadat X and Lord Jamar. Another Babygrande release, Black from the Future (2016) featured the self-produced "UDK" and the PHD collaboration "It's Been a While." ~ Andy Kellman