EWA100 - #36. Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down

36: Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down (Elektra. 1993. From the LP In God We Trust)

Mike Dikk: It’s safe to say that when Brand Nubian split up, everyone expected Grand Puba to become a star and Sadat and Lord Jamar would fade into obscurity. Both Puba and the Puba-less Brand Nubian released singles a few months apart. Puba’s “360” hit first and it was definitely a hit, to the point where it brought the simple word “parlay” into the hip hop lexicon. I remember going into my freshman year of high school that year and this kid whose name I forget, had a crew neck sweatshirt with a crude hip hop style design on it that just said “PARLAY” in big letters. As far as I know, “parlay” is some kind of gambling term, but for a short time it was a hip hop buzzword with no real strong explanation behind it. It seems all you had to do back in the '90s is say some dumb word with conviction and next thing you know, kids would show up to high school wearing a shirt with that word on it. Hip hop has been the greatest musical commercial for everything for quite some time now, even when it comes to uncommon words.
Sadly, “360” didn’t even make the list, but Brand Nubian’s first single without Puba did, so I guess Sadat and Jamar were the real winners, as far as we’re concerned. This is still my favorite Diamond D beat ever. EVER. It really sells the point that Sadat and Jamar aren’t taking any shit and they will stomp your face if the situation arises. Puba’s “360” was this breezy summertime single, but Brand Nubian v.2.0 were coming rough and tough with the Timbos and Carhartt jackets.
It also should be noted that if it wasn’t widely known that 5 percenters didn’t jibe well with homosexuals, this song set things straight (pun intended). I remember seeing the video to this song and feeling that I needed to grab this single immediately. I was very surprised when I got the single and played it for the first time to find out every other word was “faggot” and the rest of the words were about violence toward faggots. If you’ve heard this song, you know that’s a bit of hyperbole, and that in actuality, there’s only a few really blunt instances of gay bashing. At the time it was kind of intense. Even going back now and listening to a lot of old rap records and hearing the anti-gay shit being thrown around like it was perfectly acceptable behavior is pretty amazing. If you listen to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “He’s the DJ...” record, you can even find some gay bashing. Of course, we can’t forget Kool G. Rap’s “V.D. in 3D” line, which is possibly the best anti-gay rap line of all time.
Personally, I have no problem with ignorant and offensive words. A rapper can make a song called “Mike Dikk is a Buttfucking Faggot” and I’m not going to run to my internet to start an online petition like half of the hypersensitive pillow biters in America would. I also won’t demand that Brand Nubian do a duet with Elton John to make things better between the gay and anti-gay communities. I’m not advocating homophobia either. I just think we all have our priorities all kinds of fucked up and everyone comes out looking like a hypocrite. It’s pretty commonplace for a 13 year old girl to dress like a gutter slut these days. That’s a bigger problem to me than gay intolerance. I do think people who make fun of gays, and not in a tongue in cheek way like the way I make fun of gays, are pretty ignorant, since the internet has proven there are around 45,000 other fucked up fetishes that people should make fun of and write rap songs about exacting violence on those types. I would be very cool with a song denouncing shit eaters where the protagonist in the song took boots to their brown stained faces and I would definitely enjoy it if Sadat X went back and redid that one line in “Punks Jump Up...” to “I could freak a fly flow, fuck up a furry”, but that’s just me.

Raven Mack: When all this shit was coming out, I was dropping near a hundred bucks a week on new full-length tapes and vinyl singles, probably averaging five or six singles a week. I had both the "360" single and this single. The Puba single, and I was a big Puba fan because it was awesome that a guy with a face that looked like it got stung by a thousand bees could be a sex symbol of some sort, has long been sold off, but I still have that Brand Nubian single. And I still play it regularly. I know internet dork computer preservation fuckwad would want to put it to digitalization and save the vinyl for some far-off never-reached ebay value level, but fuck it, I bought the shit, it's mine and I'm gonna play it till it breaks. I might even go draw some shitty graffiti tag on it with a silver Sharpie right now, maybe write PARLAY in really bad 34-year-old white man cholo letters.
This song is great. I had the One For All tape, and wasn't too bummed when they broke up because like everybody mistakenly thought at the time, I thought Puba was carrying the group. This single proved that wrong completely. In fact, other than this single, I don't know what notable non-Brand Nubian albums any of these guys did (although I've been meaning to "obtain" Jamar's album from last year for a while now). And them being split up made you realize that. I think one of the last actual brand new rap tapes I bought before the form became obsolete was their reunion Foundation tape, and it's a good tape, with a grown folks vibe. More shit about community and kids growing up right and all, which jibes well with my family-oriented drunken lifestyle. However, the penultimate rap jams are not about overall concepts of community and making the world better. It's about raw emotion. And you let Diamond sample the horns from Rocky for a thick-booted beat, and then Sadat and Lord J kick a couple of fags in the face lyrically, and that's a motherfuckin' song. (The B-side of the single has a remix where Diamond gets on the track as well, which is neat if you've never heard it, but nothing compared to the original song.)

Download: Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down (clean SINGLE version), and Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up... (dirty ALBUM version), and Brand Nubian - Punks Jump Up... (Remix feat. Diamond D)

We both neglected to mention in our writeups that the Single version and Album versions were slightly different (outside of the naughty lyrics). The videos are basically the same, but I'm posting both versions anyway.

This is the dirty word version with the slightly "darker" beat:

This is the clean version with the more cheerful beat. Unfortunately, the sound quality on this one sucks, but hey.