Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: 'Generation X,' by Sadat X... a.k.a. Why The Great 'Dat X Benefits From His Fellow Brand Nubians...

"That's how it's 'pooosed to beee..." - Sadat X

Generation X is a perfect example of why Sadat X benefits greatly from having his weirdness grounded by Lord Jamar and even Grand Puba (and, if you wanna keep it current, DJ Alamo).

X's first solo joint, Wild Cowboys, is much more even-keeled by comparison. It had a largely understated, slightly-sophisticated feel courtesy of Diamond D and Minisotta, even though only about half was worth keeping around ("Open Bar," "Game's Sober," "Escape From New York" and a couple others). Generation X swings wildly between that Wild Cowboys feel and a variety of uptempo beats, dancehall inflection and out-and-out weirdness (Really? A beat that samples that Yael Naim song from the MacBook commercial...?).

I'd like to hate the opener, which interpolates "Tequila!" but it's actually kind of catchy and fun. "Jungle" rocks a nice, Wild-Cowboys-ish beat, and FINALLY, MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER THE BOOTCAMP FOR THE PEOPLE COMPILATION ALBUM, I FIND ANOTHER SONG WITH TWANIE RANKS.
Let's take a quick break for a sidebar here... Ever since he kicked a nice verse on BCC's "Rugged Terrain" that helped get me into dancehall, I've been looking for more Twanie Ranks, with absolutely no luck. I'd pretty much resigned myself to his status as weed carrier for the Originoo Gunn Clappaz (how sad is that?), but no longer. Back to the matter...
The album's cover says, "Produced by Will Tell," whoever that is. He does a decent job of crafting some tracks that suit Sadat's off-kilter flow, but there are definitely some unnecessary moments.

A few notes:
• Why exactly do we need Run-DMC-era drums for 2:37 of "X is the Word"? We don't.
• "I'm a new soul/Right into this strange world/Hoping I can learn a bit of what is real and fake" - There's is nooooo need to sample this song. Lord Jamar would have squashed that shit like he was Supreme Allah all over again.
• "X-Plain" rocks a nice, laidback piano melody and some of the album's best stream-of-conscious chatter.
• "The Okeedoke" and "Walk Upright" are proof that this Will Tell fellow did not deserve my earlier "whoever that is" sarcasm. These are hot beats.
• "Live" and "Make It Happen" both use well-worn samples for about the millionth time, but they still sound pretty nice.
• Supreme Allah would ALSO not allow X to sing a church hymn about himself on "He Walks With Me."

Sadat X had his best moments on Brand Nubian's Everything is Everything. Wild Cowboys was a decent step in his own odd direction, but Generation X suffers from a few too many generic beats and a severe lack of Supreme Allah.

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