Soul, Funk, R&B, & Hip-Hop

Brand Nubian

When: Thu., Nov. 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2010

Seldom do the three emcees of Brand Nubian make it out to the EastBay. Even seldom-er do they play a sleek venue like Yoshi's. But this week, the stars aligned perfectly. Local backpacker fans will get a rare opportunity to check out emcees Grand Puba, Sadat X, and Lord Jamar with good lighting and a top-notch sound system. More than just a throwback, Brand Nubian is a group with staying power. It contrasted the cheesiness of other Nineties-era hip-hop with lyrics that were genuinely about something -- even if "something" amounted to acerbic politics ("Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down") or lessons gleaned from the Nation of Gods and Earths. Unlike many of their peers, these emcees made a strong pop-culture impact but had a realistic conception of their own importance. They gave new currency to the phrase "word is bond" in a fantastic 1994 hit, and came up with such ear-wormy tracks as "Slow Down," "Love Me or Leave Me Alone," "All for One," and "Don't Let It Go to Your Head." Hopefully, they'll revisit those songs on Thursday, Nov. 4, at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero, Oakland). 8 & 10 p.m., $24. Yoshis.com

Rachel Swan

Price: $24

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