Saturday, July 16, 2016
Every song on Sadat X's new album 'Agua' features at least 1 other rapper except 4 out of 18 tracks
I'm sorry, but this is a problem for me.
To be fair, Sadat is far from the only rapper who does this. But the practice of flooding your music with featured artists is usually reserved for the mixtape treatment. Compounding this apparent error in executive producing judgment, it seems nowadays, with each subsequent lyrical effort from the artist formerly known as Derek X, his legendary status is waning rapidly.
And now this.
Look, I'm all for features and collaborations. Check this blog's archives for proof of that. But not on 78 percent of a soloist's studio album.
Hell, every rapper listed as being featured on the album is dope in their own right, so it's really the principle of the matter that has me blogging at midnight on a Friday night.
At first I thought the high number of features might be part of a larger plan for the album, but XXL.com quoted Sadat describing the project a little different from what my instinct was telling me: "The theme of this album is just actual facts. I'm talking about all subjects that affect the masses."
Now, have I heard the album? Of course not. Why would I want to hear it now that I know other rappers have more combined time on the mic than he does? Hell, there are 16 total features and only 18 tracks!
The one gift I see for this album could also be seen as somewhat of a curse:
I saw that the usual producer suspects (as opposed to suspect producers) were in its credits, including top 5 producer of all-time Pete Rock and the self-proclaimed "best producer on the mic," Diamond D. But that's also a warning sign of sorts, considering Diamond abruptly fell off nearly 20 years ago with the release of his second album. Pete has been hit-or-miss lately, but his catalog speaks for itself and then some.
As luck would have it, PR crafted the album's lead single, and while I'm not impressed with Sadat's once unique voice having devolved into a thin, raspy shadow of its former self, the beat for the song itself -- while it probably took Pete 2 seconds to make it, as there's not much to it -- is nice, I admit.
Dottie X should have the same claim to fame, and some could argue that he does, but the fact is Sadat hasn't had a dope album since 1996's classic "Wild Cowboys." Like "Agua," that album was also heavy on the features, but it was the presentation that made all the difference.
"Wild Cowboys" was sort of a conceptual album, featuring beats from -- you guessed it -- Diamond D and Pete Rock, and both of them contributed serious bangers that have stood the test of time. But it's hard to ignore the fact that Shawn Black -- who rhymed on four stellar tracks -- came across more as Sadat's partner in rhyme on the album than just a regular feature.
Shawn Bliggedy was on the album's cover wearing Western attire, like chaps and leather vests, keeping the project's concept alive. There were others on the cover -- Sadat's Wild Cowboys clique -- but those guys are in the back of the photo and only featured on a posse cut.
Conversely, this new album just shows a lone, pensive profile shot of Sadat looking down, seemingly in deep thought. If a fan didn't know any better, [s]he'd be forgiven for assuming Sadat would have more songs without features than with them.
My problem is I just can't forgive rappers with legendary status who go in the studio and record an album that doesn't showcase themselves like a true solo album should.
OK, OK, I know. He's 47 years old and this is his 11th solo album. There is credit due for anybody who can maintain a career in music for nearly three decades. But age shouldn't matter in Hiphop. Either you're good or you're not. While rap is a young man's game for the most part, there are many successful rappers well into their 40s who don't take the easy way out on their albums.
In the meantime, I'm putting out a long overdue APB for the below Sadat X. Where are you?
Editor's note/disclaimer: Sadat used to live around the corner from me in Brooklyn and I used to shout him out, calling him Dottie X and the whole nine, and he was never very friendly back to me...
*hangs head in shame after realizing the true motivation for this blog post*