Sadat X‘s [click to read] introspective 2006 album Black October found him preparing to serve time in jail, while last year’s album Generation X [click to read] captured him as he emerged from the confinement of the cell. Now, in 2009, Sadat X released his fifth solo album Brand New Bein. The album rewinds to the Hip Hop sensibilities of 1990, a time when Brand Nubian reigned, thus the title. A lot of producer DJ JS1‘s production harkens back to the classic scratch-and-cut hook used so prevalently and so skillfully by producers like of DJ Premier during an era before sample clearance became so expensive.
At first, it would appear that Sadat is continuing on with the mixtape feel of Generation X as he rhymes over classic Hip Hop beats. Among these is “All for One ’08,” which stands the test of time. Revisiting the classic 1990 Brand Nubian hit with additional scratching and slight beat changes and variations, his melodious high-pitched and passionate voice still keeps cool, calm and collected as he flexes his lyrical muscles, revitalized with a 2009 fury.
“Nuthin'” [click to listen] featuring CL Smooth [click to read], is all about substance and lyrical delivery. It requires skills to ride as well as the two emcees do on this track. CL Smooth fires the first shot with a rapid-fire delivery, smoothly caressing the jazzed-out DJ JS1 production. It’s an appropriately titled track given how Sadat and CL flaunt their lyrics, personality, swagger, agility and skill as if it were nothing. The fact that they both only deliver one short 14 bar and 16 bar verse respectively leaves the listener wanting more.
Fulfilling that hunger is the song “Goin’ Back,” on which Sadat schools his audience with a history lesson on who’s who in Hip Hop over a funky, yet smooth beat. Sadat X drops names aplenty as he lyrically tells his tale of Hip Hop discovery. He speaks on the artist after whom he patterned himself (Grandmaster Caz), who he met, who he knew and to whom he apprenticed early on in his career (Grand Puba), perfectly transitioning into the title track, “Brand New Bein'” [click to listen] featuring Lord Jamar and Puba. The groundbreaking trio unites once again to put in hard work. The emcee veterans grab the mic and skillfully work their shifts, flowing overtime and showing rookies that there is not a hint of them leaving the game early or retiring.
The cohesiveness of the album wavers a bit towards the end with the joints “Unforgettable”, “Teach The Children” and “Smallest Violin.” They all excel lyrically and utilize great concepts and production, but the hooks on each don’t feel smooth or in sync.
Regardless, captivating and cohesive songs like “Lyrics?,” featuring Craig G, and “Blow Up Da Spot” [click to listen] featuring KRS-One and Rahzel, convey quality Hip-Hop at its best. “Blow Up Da Spot” provides the listener with tranquility and euphoria as KRS and Sadat skillfully drop lyrical jewels laced with enlightenment and musically nutritional value. With a new breath of air and an apparent renewal of hunger, Sadat X should have called this album a Brand New Beginning.