When Substantial was recording his debut album, …To This Union a Sun Was Born, he was driven by adversity. The Maryland native was struggling to balance school with a budding music career, was homeless at times and still reeling from having buried more than ten friends and family members.
The resulting album—produced by Nujabes and Monorisick of Hyde Out Productions and released in October, 2001—earned Substantial international critical acclaim and a particularly devoted following in Japan, where it was recorded and distributed. …To This Union was a top ten seller for two months at Virgin Megastores in Tokyo, Japan, and outsold artists such as Ja Rule, Jermaine Dupri, Faith Evans and Angie Stone in November. The album was dedicated to his late father and niece.
In the years that followed, Substantial — real name Stan B. Robinson— released a slew of singles and featured appearances, choosing to remain an independent artist to maintain creative freedom. In March of 2007, however, he officially joined the like-minded roster of independent hip-hop record label QN5 Music, whose artists are both close friends and frequent collaborators of his.
“I met Substantial through PackFM and Mecca during the final throes of the NYC underground scene’s heyday,” says QN5 founder and artist Tonedeff. “They were all in a group together called Dominion and I had seen them. Immediately, I was blown away by his wordplay and delivery.” Tonedeff, Substantial, PackFM and Session would go on to form the group Extended Famm and release the critically acclaimed 2002 album Happy F*ck You Songs.