Sadat X has never been the most lyrical Rapper in the game, in fact his lax almost conversational style can sometimes sound jarring and off-beat. Having said that, his unique voice and casual flow is also part of his charm and the one thing that Sadat X has always been is consistent. Ever since Brand Nubian, through to the Wild Cowboys, and right down to his solo releases, Sadat has made his credible yet nonchalant style of rapping a staple of underground Hip-Hop music and it’s nice to hear some new songs from this legendary MC.
Sadat X’s latest album “Agua” moves steadily from track to track without drastically changing mood or pace, the production which is reminiscent of the late nineties and early noughties is also complimentary to Sadat’s cool and laid-back style. The album opens with “Freeze” and this opener with its ethnic sample reminds me of “Addictive” by Truth Hurts. From then on in the album ushers in numerous head-nodding tracks such as the up-tempo “Head Shot” and the upbeat “The Bass Player”. There’s also the nice piano-laden thumping beat of “Tommy Is My Boy”, the catchy as hell chorus on “Maybe It’s Me”, and the centre-piece “Agua” features the same beautiful sample as Jedi Mind Trick’s “I Against I” (Cal Tjader’s “What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?”).
Speaking of the title track, the backlash to the Cristal-era of Hip-Hop may finally be coming to an end with a track like “Agua” on the scene (as well as “Industry Outcasts”). The title track in particular which is similar to Mick Jenkins’ ode to water, is a welcome change of content for Hip-Hop music. Unfortunately and also similar to Jenkins, water as a concept doesn’t quite flow (pardon the pun) throughout the entire album and therefore the title seems a bit lost amidst the varied topics contained within the LP, but that being said not since Mick Jenkins have I heard an MC rhyme so passionately about something as simple yet important as H2O.
The album also features some fantastic guest spots from various brilliant but underrated MCs (R.A. The Rugged Man, fellow Brand Nubian member Lord Jamar, Nexx Level/Govarmynt’s D.V. Alias Khrist, and Boston’s finest Ed O.G. to name but a few). Sadat X along with these other Golden Era MCs proves that he can still make great music. Similar to “Re:Living” by Large Professor, “Agua” is an album that blends old and new-school styles and shows that longevity is possible as long as you stay true to who you are and as long as you don’t sell-out. The only difference between “Agua” and the classic “Re:Living” is that “Agua” dips for a few tracks during the mid-point but thankfully it picks up again towards the end, that is until the final mediocre song which is the only disappointing aspect of this LP.
The stand out tracks from this release are “Freeze”, “Industry Outcasts”, “The Bass Player”, and Maybe It’s Me”, but unfortunately for “Agua” the album ends with the worst, most corniest track (“Nobody”). Aside from that one cringe-worthy song however, there’s fifteen or sixteen decent songs on this album and that’s enough to satisfy anybody’s thirst during this drought of credible Hip-Hop music.