Sadat X beat down punks with Brand Nubian and rode again with a solo career that suffered a short interruption when he spent several months in Rikers. He has a new album due soon with Affluent.
Who’s going to be on your new Generation X album?
Basically it’s just me. A lot of albums always got a whole lot of people but this is just me. Production is by my man Will Tell—he’s from Brooklyn Academy—and my man Trev Thomas. It’s ready—it’s done, but it’s digital so it’s in the process of coming out. I’ve been working since October. I just finished it about two weeks ago. It took me eight or nine months.
Whatever happened to the song you did with the Neptunes and Jay-Z?
That never came out. But that was on their end. I don’t know what they did with that. I’ve done so much that hasn’t come out before. A lot of it’s on other people, and for whatever reasons—I don’t know. I just did the track! I just do what I do—I make the songs, and hopefully it’ll be out and be recepted well.
Brand Nubian was bootlegged pretty heavily—are you bothered by Internet downloads?
That was the summer of bootlegging, and it hurt us as far as sales, but it got us around, and a lot of people knew us from that era. It was two-fold—it was good but it was bad. With the Internet, I’d hope they’d buy it, but if people can take it, they take it. The records I put out are not for sale—they’re basically to get shows. I was never big on sales. Most of my income is generated from getting out and doing shows.
You said before that rap doesn’t define you—what defines you?
Just life. Rap is just a small part. I’m a father, I coach basketball—it’s not the overall of me.
You also said a lot of old rappers feel like rap owes them something. What do you mean?
They’re disillusioned—they feel they don’t get respect. But you’ve gotta put out good music to get respect. Times change and you gotta change with the times. What was back then was back then. Be flexible and move on. And you have to stay abreast of things. A lot of older rappers disappear and move away from the community. They aren’t in the street as much. Though radio is so limited and since I’ve been doing my album, I haven’t been listening to other people. I didn’t want it to cloud what I was doing. I wanna keep my original vibe and I don’t wanna subconsciously pick up one someone else’s vibe.
What’s your vibe?
I bring my personal charisma, my voice, my sense of realness. My lyrics are pretty straightforward. There’s nothing extravagant. It’s just the way I rhymed.
You said there were more classic songs when you were a kid and now it’s not as frequent.
It’s a lot of good music coming out but I don’t feel it’s classic. When I was coming out, you had whole albums you’d play—whole Public Enemy album, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul. Now there’s a lot of fast-forwarding on new albums.
How much of that is hip-hop and how much of that is you changing?
People aren’t taking as much time to put out the music. Now it’s such a rush for people to get albums out, so they’re doing four or five songs at a session and this and that, as opposed to taking their time and customizing the song.
Black October was kind of a rush—how do you feel it holds up now?
That had to be done fast because I was going away. I had to put a lot together—maybe a lot I wouldn’t put out now, but I did want to put something out.
Did your time in Rikers ‘freeze you’ like you thought it might?
It put me on pause for eight months until I came back and was back in society. It froze me as far as doing shows and being visible.
What was the best book you read when you were in?
I read a lot of books. All types of books. All the Robert Greene and stuff like that. Just to stay abreast of things. I definitely wasn’t stagnating.
Do you write differently now?
My literature is more mature. I’m talking about being grown-up, paying bills and taking care of my kids. Back then I wasn’t talking about that because I didn’t have no kids! Now as I grow older, I have more bills—so that’s what I’m talking about. But I go to the studio every day—I definitely get it in. I like to focus.
What was coaching Spoonie G’s son like?
It was cool—he’s a good kid! I haven’t kept in contact with him, but he’s mild-mannered, very well-mannered. You can tell he had a good upbringing. I still go to games and I run into players I taught who are coaches at different schools now.
What makes Sadat tick?
Just life—being around people and staying motivated and just living, man. You gotta keep going and you can’t stop! Living life—that’s what motivates me. Wake up in the morning and live another day!
URBAN UNDERGROUND PRESENTS SADAT X WITH COPYWRITE, J-RAWLS, COLD HEAT AND MANY MORE ON FRI., JULY 4, AT THE AIRLINER, 2419 N. BROADWAY, LOS ANGELES. 8 PM / $10 / 18+. MYSPACE.COM/URBANUNDERGROUNDWEEKLY. AND BRAND NUBIAN WITH 2MEX, KONFIDENT AND E-SMITH AND MORE ON SAT., JULY 12, AT CRASH MANSION, 1024 S. GRAND AVE., LOS ANGELES. 7 PM / $15 / 21+. CRASHMANSIONLA.COM. VISIT SADAT X AT MYSPACE.COM/SADATX.