When I listened to and reviewed Sadat X's introspective last album for The Source, Black October [click to read], the overall theme was acceptance and regret, as he contemplated all of the things that he was about to miss and that he'd have to do without as he was getting ready to serve time behind bars. Now with his new digital-turned-retail-release, Generation X, the Brand Nubian co-founder is echoing the cries of Martin Luther King...free at last.
The man with the high-pitched melodious voice has not lost any of his passion and openness as he continues to allow the listener once again to experience his inner most thoughts and feelings. From the very first track, "Now" featuring Twan, it's evident that Sadat X is in full celebratory party mode. Mentally and physically free to be different and to think outside of the box, he jumps on the classic beat of the 1986 Joeski single, "Pee Wee's Dance," and in a conversational tone, drops a tale about partying. The song, "Never" samples Biz Markie's voice on the hook and utilizes the beat from his joint, "This is Something for the Radio" sees Sadat posing questions, pondering and harping on what folks would never do to him or for him. Meanwhile, "Hey Baby" is the epitome of Funk in the midst of a back and forth borrowing and channeling of the foundation and style of Positive K's "I Got a Man." While strolling through the streets of Brooklyn, Sadat X bumps into a honey then lyrically tries to pick her up as a conversation ensues via a trading of rhymes. "Think Different" is patterned after the classic Brand Nubian song, "Slow Down" which utilized the Pop flavor of Edie Brickell & New Bohemians throughout the song. This time around Sadat marvelously utilizes Yael Naim's chopped chorus and groove from the song, "New Soul" ...I'm a new soul... I came to this strange world... Hoping I could learn a bit 'bout how to give and take... It's a song about striving and never saying never...
Then "It's A Demo" jacks the track from Kool G Rap [click to read] & DJ Polo's 1989 hit of the same name and MC Tee and Mantronix's classic, 1985 electro funk Hip-Hop joint, "Fresh is the Word" transforms into, "X Is The Word" as Sadat X proclaims that he has "waited all these years and now finally it's my turn"... So is it pure genius, crossover dreams or just a Hip-Hop love that has Sadat X almost one after the other breeding familiarity, reviving your Hip-Hop Jones and marrying strong elements of classic old to new and thus birthing a strong, new vibrant and healthy Hip-Hop baby?
It's not all revamping though, Sadat does give you solid and totally fresh new offerings and topics like, "This Is Your Life" a reminiscing game show come to life via song, as he drops his biographical rise to fame, fatherhood and the ups and downs of life. And "Walk Upright" is a taking command Reggae flavored lyrical pulling of cards as Sadat poignantly states, Locked in jail and no visits now I'm free...so where were you when I was in jail?
As a fan of Sadat X's previous work, this album at times felt like a mixtape, or an if you ever wondered how his voice would sound over other classic tracks, well here you go type of scenario. The choice to utilize so many memorable tracks and elements was a risky beat endeavor that will be applauded by some and lambasted by others. Regardless throughout Generation X Sadat X skillfully displays lyrical gymnastics as he balances, swings and flips over beats nailing the lyrical landing with an almost perfect score.