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October 20th, 1992 was a notable date in Hip-Hop history for several reasons, most of them stemming from the fact it’s the day veteran MC/producer Grand Puba released his classic debut album Reel To Reel. You may ask why I’m writing about an album that failed to even sell Gold 20 years after its release. You may even wonder exactly why this album is considered a classic and what’s it’s legacy is. I’ll address all of that and more right now.

Grand Puba (Maxwell) was once a member of the crew Masters Of Ceremony, who were best known for their songs “Cracked Out” & “Hot.” Once they broke up Grand Puba was writing & producing here and there before he hooked up with Brand Nubian who were also from New Rochelle. They teamed up with legendary A&R and producer Dante Ross to create what would become a seminal Hip-Hop record as well as a classic album in 1990’s One For All. After disputes within the group, Grand Puba decided to go solo from the successful crew in 1991. He signed a solo deal on the same label Brand Nubian were on, and one of Brand Nubian’s DJ’s (Alamo) joined Puba as well. In addition, Dante Ross & his SD50 (Stimulated Dummies) production team would also lend production to Puba’s solo project (which Puba largely handled on his own).

Grand Puba had finally set out on his own but first he made some key moves and guest appearances many have forgotten about or overlooked. Let’s recap shall we? Grand Puba rhymed on Heavy D & The Boyz’ Pete Rock produced single “Don’t Curse” in 1991. He had a popular track called “Fat Rat” on the soundtrack of the 1991 film Strictly Business (formerly titled “Go Natalie!”). Puba not only wrote Pete Rock’s rhymes on Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s classic LP Mecca & The Soul Brother but he also appeared on the song “Skins.”



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Photo: Elektra

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