Sadat X is the definition of what it means to be about your business and on your grind. The one-time teacher, basketball coach, would-be firefighter and rapper is the everymans man. Not comfortable with just relying on one gig, the Bronx-bred MC isnt afraid to take a regular job and hustle like the rest of the blue-collars.
And just like regular folks get caught up in unfortunate situations, the same holds true here. Not too long after the release of the well-received Experience & Education last year, Sadat caught a gun possession charge and will be heading to city jail late October. But not one to let a setback slow him down, he just released another solo, the aptly-titled and very candid Black October.
The Wild Cowboy spoke with AllHipHop.com about his multiple careers, importantly, why you should not send him any ghetto books while hes in jail.
AllHipHop.com: How long had you been teaching?
Sadat X: For about six years.
AllHipHop.com: Back in the day, was your main gig teaching and then you decided you wanted to get into rapping?
Sadat X: I was a teachers assistant working in the New Rochelle school system. But I was still able to balance that back and forth with the rap, but these last two years since I made the albums [Experience & Education, Black October] during the year, I havent been able to teach. A lot of travel for them was being done during the school year and I couldnt get the time off like that.
AllHipHop.com: What grade?
Sadat X: All grades. I worked from high school to elementary, wherever they sent me.
AllHipHop.com: Did the kids know who you were?
Sadat X: Well some of them did, but these are young kids; I know most of their parents.
AllHipHop.com: Being a Five Percenter, did you find it hard teaching some subjects like Social Studies or History?
Sadat X: Well, I would just break it down into whats fact and whats fiction. A lot of the stuff, being that I was a teachers assistant, I couldnt really get into it like how I wanted toas opposed to me taking full command of the class and teaching what I wanted to teach. A lot of times you have to go along with what the curricula is calling for. But you could still, within the curricula, break down little fallacies. And also, I was working with a lot of kids with behavioral problems, so a lot of that stuff [history lessons] wasnt even approached. A lot of stuff we were doing was just getting them to be able to behave in the classroom.
AllHipHop.com: What made you go into teaching?
Sadat X: I just like working with kids, thats all.
AllHipHop.com: Is your teaching license going to be affected by your situation?
Sadat X: I dont know yet. I havent applied back again, so I wont know until I apply again. Until I go get another job and it pops up on my record
AllHipHop.com: Im thinking about the irony that the last album was titled Experience & Education and then this happens thats like an experience and education in itself. What do you think about that?
Sadat X: It is. I mean, s**t happens. Got into a situation, s**t jumped off like how it jumped off do the crime, you gotta do the time. Im not afraid or anything like thatnot by any means. Im afraid of the boredom of jail, but its only for six or seven months. Itll be all right.
AllHipHop.com: On the song Black October, you pretty much said that you had no fear in anything, it was just boredom. You also said, Dont send me no ghetto books. What do you mean by that?
Sadat X: It aint nothing wrong with them books like
AllHipHop.com: A Hustlers Wife or something like that?
Sadat X: Yeah. But once you read one or two of them books, you basically read them all. I read those stories before and I mean, when Im in there [jail], Im already in there with vice and crooks, so I need something a little more challenging.
AllHipHop.com: I was looking at the inside art of Experience & Education and the book that you were reading on the cover. I looked real close at the book cover and it said, Willing Yourself to Live. Whats that all about?
Sadat X: Well, actually, thats crazy, because that book just happened to be on the table when I took the picture. A lot of people ask me about that and Im like damn, Im gonna have to really go back and read that. It must be something behind that.
AllHipHop.com: Back to Black October. You said, I mightve caught the case cause of the way I reacted.
Sadat X: Well, I could have reacted better. I could have let the situation be handled another way. My peoples told me they was gonna handle it, and understand, my people are grown men. They not like little boys in the streets; my dudes is grown men. They care about methey dont care nothin about rap. I knew them before there was rap. Thats why a lot of times when I tell these dudes, when they be saying these lyrics about hustlin and doing this, and doing thatI came up in the grown mans era. I was with the original crew with the backpacks on the Amtrak going to D.C., Virginia, North Carolina and places like that. So a lot of dudes be playing with this, my dudes is serious. So, the situation jumped off and I should have let them handle it, but I chose to handle it.
AllHipHop.com: Can you get into what happened?
Sadat X: It was a beef over I didnt like the way that some guys had treated a friend of mine who I came up with, and I took exception to that fact. They had beat my man out of a lot of money, and I took exception to that, being that they live around here and I see this dudes everyday.
AllHipHop.com: So the cops were just there or something?
Sadat X: They called the cops. I didnt have the gun out. It was two days before Christmas; its in the middle of the daytime, Christmas season I live on Broadway, 157th, 158th, which is probably the biggest drug trade area in the East Coast. Theres a million police over there all the time and so many detectives. If Id have been in the middle of the street with a gun in the daytime Id have probably been killed. They say it happened in front of McDonalds how come nobody from McDonalds came downstairs and said I was waving a gun? And my charge is not for that. My charge is for possession of a gun, thats why I only got a year. If it had been anything more than that, Id be gone for a lot longer. I just got the minimum time.
AllHipHop.com: On Untraceable, you said you had to cop a plea because there were no grounds for a trial.
Sadat X: Yeah, I had to cop a plea. I was caught with the gun, so there was no defense in that. I had to take that time. Being that I had a previous gun charge, I took the year as opposed to going to trial and then they bringing that into question. And then if blew the trial, I was looking at three to five. Usually when they make you an offer, they got something behind you.
AllHipHop.com: Even though on one of the songs you said its not a farewell, I kind of got the feeling that it was. I got a sense that, if I didnt know any better, I would think youd be going away for a real long time.
Sadat X: Nah, Ill be back in like six or seven months thats light. I know dudes that say, Yo, give me six or seven months. They would take that like a Christmas present. And I m in the city. Im not even going up north. Im in a city jail; I didnt have to go upstate. Thats when you go to jail.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, thats prison, not even jail.
Sadat X: Exactly. Thats prison I got city time. There are a million Gods in the jail, and I know a couple of wardens, so I already got packages waiting for me. When I say packages, I mean I got clothes, books already in place, so when I come in, Ill come in with a whole bunch of s**t. So, its all good.
AllHipHop.com: When did you record Black October?
Sadat X: This was done throughout the spring.
AllHipHop.com: Was it a different recording process going into the album knowing you were going away?
Sadat X: I had to do it a lot faster, really grind it out doing two to three songs a week.
AllHipHop.com: Are you already thinking about your next album? Is it going to reflect your time in jail?
Sadat X: Nah, I dont want to make a whole jail album; nobody wants to hear that. Im gonna reflect on certain things, but I dont want it to be solely based on that experience.
AllHipHop.com: I was watching the video for Lord Finesses Actual Facts, and was wondering, being from the Bronx, how come you never got down with D.I.T.C.?
Sadat X: Im affiliated with D.I.T.C., definitely. A lot of D.I.T.C. was in one area of the Bronx. They were based out of Forrest [Avenue], I was always affiliated with them I seen them grow. I was just talking to A.G. I always talk with Diamond, O.C., and them. So yeah, Im definitely connected with them.
AllHipHop.com: Do you find that with the global popularity that rap is enjoying now, that its almost unfair in a way for people such as yourself whove been around a long time arent profiting like this new generation is?
Sadat X: I take it like this: if you want to blame anybody, blame your parents for having you ten years early. Times changeyou gotta change with the times. Times, change, technology changes; you grow and change with it.
Now its worldwide. When we first came out, people out of town didnt have no way to see Brand Nubian; we couldnt link to Germany now they do. Its just the way it is.