Sadat X Explains Artistic Direction Of

Exclusive: The distinctive-voiced third of Brand Nubian reveals details of the sequel to his solo debut, and updates post-prison standing.

His distinctive nasal-voiced verbals have been blessing Hip Hop listener’s ears for over two decades, first as one-third of the standout socially-conscious crew Brand Nubian, and subsequently as a noteworthy solo artist in his own right. And it’s Sadat X’s solo career that he is retracing back to its roots with the release of Wild Cowboys II.
Due first on February 23rd as a five-song vinyl EP (plus digital download card), with a full 16-track digital and physical LP dropping exactly one month later on March 23rd, Wild Cowboys II marks the release of Sadat’s third album in the three years since he was released from Rikers Island after a year-long stint for felony gun possession.

Now following last year’s Brand New Bein’ and 2008’s Will Tell-helmed Generation X, Sadat has recruited a smorgasbord of sonic suppliers for the sequel to his 1996 solo debut, including new heat providers (9th Wonder, Sir Jinx, Nick Wiz), more recent producers (Will Tell, DJ Spinna), and a few of the elite beatmakers (Buckwild, Diamond D, Pete Rock, Minnesota) that helped to make Sadat’s first LP one of the more notable boom-bap efforts of the mid-‘90s.
During a quick convo with HipHopDX late Wednesday (February 3rd) Sadat provided a sneak peak into the sound and subject matter for Wild Cowboys II, as well as gave an update on his post-prison personal standing.      

HipHopDX: I gotta start off by asking you how much influence Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II, and the recent announcements of AZ’s plans to release Doe Or Die 2 and Capone-N-Noreaga’s plans to drops a sequel to The War Report, had on your decision to come with Wild Cowboys II?
Sadat X: Well, it didn’t really have any influence, ‘cause I was gon’ do what I was gon’ do regardless. I’m just glad to see that they coming with joints. And I love [Raekwon’s] [Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II]. But as far as they albums giving me any influence, not at all, I’ma do what I do.  

DX: Yeah it should be noted that on “The Interview” [from the original Wild Cowboys] you said the sequel was coming that next year. [Laughs].
Sadat X: Oh yeah, no question, it took me a minute but it's here.

DX: So is this album a sequel in name only, or are you continuing the loose theme of the streets in comparison to the Wild West?
Sadat X: Well I tried to keep it comparatively the same. I got a lot of the people that was on the first album – Money Boss Playas [for the Minnesota-produced “Everybody Know”], Diamond D [for “In Da Jungle” featuring A.G.], and Pete Rock [for “Turn It Up”] – and then a couple of people blessed me on this new one, a couple of new people. I got M-1 and Kurupt on [“Pray”], Ill Bill [and] 9th Wonder [on “X And Bill”]. So I tried to keep it within the framework of [the original while] adding a little something from the original flavor of Wild Cowboys and [simultaneously] upgrading it to make it be part two.  

DX: And speaking of that upgrade, will the sound of Wild Cowboys II sport the same mid-‘90s [thick] basslines and boom-bap drums that the original did?
Sadat X: Well, if that’s what they wanna call it, mid-‘90s. I just go with what sounds good to me, man. If they wanna label it mid-‘90s I guess that’s what it is. But, I had a very high [level of] input on this joint…and every track I stand behind.   

DX: I just mean like is there gonna be those modern synth sounds on there…?
Sadat X: Oh nah, I tried to keep it original to my roots. I like to play around with the drums a lot, so you gon’ hear a lot of that in there.

DX: I was surprised to see Sir Jinx name in the [album’s] production lineup for “Pray,” the joint with Kurupt and M-1. Does that track have more of a west coast Funk to it?
Sadat X: Nah. Actually man that track is a bangin’ joint. I been cool with Sir Jinx for many years, and we been meaning to collab on something and it just so happened that it fell into pocket on this particular project. And I think a lot of people gon’ be surprised [when they hear “Pray”]. Jinx never went nowhere, he always had that [heat and] he gave it to me and we laid it down. And M-1 came through for it, Kurupt, and my man Umi. So I think that’s gon’ be a track that people gon’ really like.      

DX: “Pray,” what y’all praying about or praying to?
Sadat X: We ain’t really praying; we just talking about life, certain things that people went through in life. I’m talking a little bit about my daughter, and being the fact that she’s in Atlanta [and] I’m up here [in New York and so] I don’t see her but my influence is still in her life. Ya know, daily stuff like that.     

DX: Now, I gotta know if [you feel] “Turn It Up” is on the same level as the classic “Escape From New York”?
Sadat X: Yeah I think so, man. I told Pete [Rock], I explained to him the situation, [that] I was doing Wild Cowboys II and I needed that thing from him. I told him I needed that original Pete Rock flavor, and he went back into the crate and pulled that out. And I think its gonna be reminiscence of that joint. It’s just a straight-up Hip Hop joint.

DX: And I always wanted to know, why wasn’t that Jazz-tinged, head-nodding crack the original Wild Cowboys first single instead of “Hang ‘Em High”?
Sadat X: Um, I don’t know, man. I think that was more of a Loud move. Loud Records at the time they – I had to go along partly with they vision since they was laying out the bread, but that wasn’t my choice. I would’ve went with something like [“Escape From New York”] too being more close to my nature.

DX: I’m a huge Rhymefest fan. Is the joint with you and ‘Fest…are y’all going Run and D, back and forth, on “Roll That”?
Sadat X: Oh yeah man, we going back and forth. I think people gon’ like that. We each put a little flavor into going back and forth. Flippin’ it like that as opposed to somebody just coming with a 16 and then the next person coming with a 16. We kinda interplayed at some pieces.

DX: “Roll That,” is that like rollin’ up some wack emcees? [Laughs]
Sadat X: You could say that, rollin’ wack emcees or something in the air, anything you wanna roll up. [Laughs].

DX: Now this one was a little surprising to me but… “X And Bill” over a 9th Wonder beat, that’s like Hip Hop purist nirvana right there. [Laughs].
Sadat X: Yeah man, something different. That’s what I was trying to do, just come with combinations that people don’t expect – not the same combinations that’s always expected, this person usually rock with this person. I just wanted to try to [mix] it up. And I like [Ill] Bill’s stuff. I definitely like his stuff, and I been a fan of 9th Wonder for awhile. He’s cool with me, and I just wanted to try something new.

DX: These collaborations, is this all your orchestration or you put the word out and people was coming to you…?
Sadat X: Well basically I had kind of like a pattern or a framework in my mind and I reached out to certain people who I felt was gonna complement what I was trying to do this time. I went and got Vast Aire [for “Bargain With The Devil”]. That’s [been] my man for awhile; we’ve done stuff in the past. So, I had a certain vision for this and I had certain people in mind.

DX: And you know I gotta ask about the Brand Nubian joint on here, the Buckwild-produced “Long Years,” is that the set-up for a new group LP?
Sadat X: Oh yeah, well you know we definitely – We continuously doing shows to this day, so you know, another album we feel is inevitable. We just wanna get it right, get the foundation under us solid. And that’s definitely, definitely to be expected.

DX: When I spoke to Grand Puba last year he said Fire In The Hole wouldn’t be “a good representation to end the group with,” and then he went on to say that the album was just okay to him and that the label rushed out a less than stellar Brand Nubian album. You agree with that assessment?
Sadat X: Oh yeah, definitely. I [would] whole-heartedly agree with that. I don’t feel at all was that a proper representation. I mean, it was cool, but truth be told it wasn’t that [good enough] that I wanted to leave a legacy of Brand Nubian behind [on that note]. Not on that joint. Certain things wasn’t done with that, and I feel like it was kinda rushed and I definitely want another chance.       

DX: We both agreed in our discussion that Foundation, and not One For All, is the best Brand Nubian album ever.
Sadat X: Okay. I can see that. Foundation is more of a grown album. It’s more of a album that a lot of our fans identified with paying bills and stuff like that, and raising family. I can see that man, but still the first one is my baby. It’s like a child to me, no doubt.

DX: If I could [make] any suggestion [for the next album], I would take like the Foundation vibe and mix it with “Pass The Gat.” [Laughs].
Sadat X: That’s what’s up! I could see that, yeah.

DX: I don’t wanna end on a down note, but I gotta ask you if your legal drama from a few years back is finally over, if the state of New York still has you on papers or if you’re off that?
Sadat X: Nah, I’m good, man. I’m good in the state. That was just like a speed-bump in the road of life. Certain times we go through trials and tribulations, and that’s what that was. It was an eye-opener. Nothing to be proud of, I don’t big-up to any type of jail situation or legal problems. And, I overcame that and I’m here now.

DX: I understand you can’t do some work that you were doing before with kids [now] though [because of that gun conviction]?
Sadat X: Yeah, I been blocked for a minute, but I got some people in my corner, some big people that’s in higher education in New York and they pulling for me. And, I am still involved with kids and doing a couple of things, and I will be back. So, they can expect that.

DX: Just out of curiosity, was that speaking or teaching?
Sadat X: I was working as a teacher’s assistant for a number of years in the New Rochelle school system – a system which I came up through. I was working in special education, which was the…so-called bad boys. But, a lot of those kids I knew they parents, because being that I went to those schools that was just the natural offspring of them. So I was able to reach them on a different level.

DX: And the reason I know all this background is ‘cause D-Nice is a visual genius with them True Hip Hop Stories.
Sadat X: Oh yeah man, D-Nice, he’s a dude that’s come a long way. He’s been a lifelong friend. [And] definitely what he’s doing with that is a plus. He puts it down in a nice light.

DX: I don’t know if this is my place, or a question I should even be asking, but you still in the same spot? You still gotta deal with them dudes that sold you out?
Sadat X: Nah…I’ve removed myself from that situation. I’m in Brooklyn now actually. So now I been in basically every borough – West Chester, Bronx, Manhattan, [and] now I’m out in Brooklyn. It’s been a positive situation out here. I’ve connected with a lot of people. And it’s gave me a little solitude being I was from Uptown. So all my natural peoples is from Uptown, [and] so they would always be coming over – and not to say it’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes in order to create I needed a little solitude and that’s what I found out in Brooklyn.

DX: And you can get that M.O.P. collabo crackin’. [Laughs].
Sadat X: Oh yeah, that’s gon’ happen soon. I seen [Lil] Fame. I talked to Fame.   

Purchase Music by Sadat X


  • celow

    man you don't get that type of flow and music an lyric any more , that's what true hip hop is i don't know what's out here today peace out.

  • bios

    hopefully the beats are good this time. last few Sadat albums wack musically.

  • chronwell

    Although I hit a lb. of herb/Im still nice with the verbs so fuck what ya heard!

  • nyblackguys

    --** bla ckmilitary friends. CoooooooooooooM**-- is the world's largest and best club for both military and civilian friends. It has experienced tremendous success in bringing military personals and their admirers together these years.

  • todd whitney

    always peace to the GOD....glad to hear that his new stuff is coming out. i've always been a huge brand nubian/sadat x fan. def gonna cop the album and support.

  • Josh

    Hey, want to check out a video of Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers after his performance in Trenton, NJ on Feb. 5. He talks about the paradigm shift in hip-hop after the 1992 Rodney King riots. Here's the link:


    I got all his solo's except GENERATION X. BRAND NUBIAN is my favorite group of all time. Can't wait.


    Sadat X is ill. Im glad homies making a come back.


    Funny..."Escape From New York" was in response to DPG'S "NEW YORK NEW YORK". The line that goes......"escape from New York, dont bring ya ass back again......" produced by Pete Rock of course. Then two years later on Pete Rocks solo- Soul Brother, he gets Kurupt and Inspectah Deck on a collab.

    • Godsbattalion215

      yeah fam, I think They were just defending where they're from, just like if a nigga was dissing Philly, (without actually experiencing Philly), I think alot of these yung niggas out here would be upset. I don't think it's a regional thing, it's a respect thing. You diss mine, Ima defend it regardless of how hard niggas think they are. Kurupt is a clown anyway lolol It's one thing to be an indusrty artist, it's another thing to act out of character and diss a region (knowing you ain't from the west coast, but YOU still gon speak on it.) Niggas just need to be real about themselves and stop following trends. If Philly gets it poppin again, I'm sure tht nigga will start waving the Philly flag, go head with that Peace!

  • dapluva!

    Derek X(Sadat) been dope my favorite joint he spit on had to be punks pump up and slow down but throw the ball was very dope also can't forget still getting mines in the 1-9-9-9 Brand Nubian 4eva the south has spoken...Danger!!!


    The record industry is over. The music business will live on as a "sponsor" based model. Your favorite rapper will be signed to Pepsi or Doritos type corporations who will pay for their videos (same as commercials) and eliminate distribution costs by using the very trucks that deliver their soda and chips, to deliver an artist's cd. You will find rapper A's cd right next to the soda (company's product) display in your local grocery store. Whom ever is sponsored by Nike will have their cd's delivered to Nike stores and footlockers on the very trucks which bring in the tennis shoes. The cd will be displayed right next to the sneakers. Your local supermarket will eliminate the need for record stores and major distribution. Rickevirtual creator of the Sponsor Based Model. HIPHOP WILL LIVE!! Less distribution costs mean the artist finally will see a 25-50 percent split. Perfect

  • GrandPoo

    Sadat X comes pretty tight on this new joint with Shawn Lov...

  • Articulate1

    "Wild cowboys got a lotta style boy"! Dotty X been the shit. "Stages and Lights" was my favorite joint off that album.

    • miguel Guttierres

      "Stages and cameras and lights don't affect me/ Same on the wax is the same on the street" "If sh*t ain't to my likin' I run and get the ax/ It's not that I'm a racist/ It's just I'm pro-blacks" Hell yeah, that song's fire!

  • moh112

    this interview got me really excited for the album

  • Boom Bye Yeah

    "Lump, Lump" was my joint on the first. I think saying that Foundation is the best Brand Nubian album is ludicris. One For All, all day. The thought of Ill Bill + 9th Wonder feels unsettling... but enough to make me support this album.

  • Whiterthanmost

    Like rolling up on wack mcs? Come on cuz

  • UPinag

    Great MC can't wait for the album, nice to hear a mc with a brain and heart

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