13 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A much-loved rhyme veteran, Grand Puba first came up in the ‘80s, gaining local fame with Masters of Ceremony before linking up with Brand Nubian. Known for his intelligent lyricism and party rocking flow, he is able to drop thought-provoking socio-political joints without sounding preachy, and straight-up good times rap without coming off corny. Despite the title, his fourth solo album is neither a wistful throwback nor the ranting of a bitter, aging pioneer. Instead, Puba does what he's always done, giving listeners a wide-range of subject matter set to solid production that takes its cues from his golden era heyday. Classic romantic rap comes in the form of the seductive but down-to-earth "Hunny," while "Same Old Drama" reflects on a wide array of everyday troubles. "The Joint Right Here" is a great club banger, and shades of R&B are exhibited on "Go Hard" and "Reality Check." Fellow legends Large Pro, Q-Tip, and Lord Finesse all lend a hand, to impressive results. Retroactive is a quality release; after many years away from the studio, it's good to have Puba back.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A much-loved rhyme veteran, Grand Puba first came up in the ‘80s, gaining local fame with Masters of Ceremony before linking up with Brand Nubian. Known for his intelligent lyricism and party rocking flow, he is able to drop thought-provoking socio-political joints without sounding preachy, and straight-up good times rap without coming off corny. Despite the title, his fourth solo album is neither a wistful throwback nor the ranting of a bitter, aging pioneer. Instead, Puba does what he's always done, giving listeners a wide-range of subject matter set to solid production that takes its cues from his golden era heyday. Classic romantic rap comes in the form of the seductive but down-to-earth "Hunny," while "Same Old Drama" reflects on a wide array of everyday troubles. "The Joint Right Here" is a great club banger, and shades of R&B are exhibited on "Go Hard" and "Reality Check." Fellow legends Large Pro, Q-Tip, and Lord Finesse all lend a hand, to impressive results. Retroactive is a quality release; after many years away from the studio, it's good to have Puba back.

TITLE TIME
4:26
4:04
5:03
3:22
3:53
2:21
1:29
3:17
3:35
3:08
4:31
1:55
3:23

About Grand Puba

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

  • ORIGIN
    New Rochelle, NY
  • BORN
    March 4, 1966

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