Experience & Education

Artist: Sadat XTitle: Experience & EducationRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jessica Dufresne

As New York as the Yankees, dirty water dogs, Carhartts, and the subway, Sadat X represents the city and its Hip-Hop glory days. But those days aren’t necessarily a wrap, despite all the talk about the city’s crown being taken away by the South. Just like finding most good music nowadays, you’ve got to dig deeper than the surface—and if you search hard enough, this album will be your reward.

After a substantial hiatus, the God MC emerges nearly10 years after his first solo, with Experience & Education (Female Fun Records). Armed with just industry respect because of no major label backing, buzz, a video, or mainstream radio spins, the former Derek X supplies 14 tracks of what his hometown’s been missing. There are no cliché club or ladies songs here and no gimmicks, but what you do get however, is just plain ‘ol good rap music. On point production by Diamond D, Minnesota, DJ Spinna, Agallah, amongst others, lay the foundation for X and his guests to spin tales of nearly everything you can think of. The album starts off with the solemn chant, “God is back in town” and Sadat explaining that he just fell back for a minute, but that he’s still mentally and physically strong. And when the resounding DJ Spinna beat comes in and that trademark nasal flow gets going, you know the God is indeed back.

In a prime example of how he spits about everyday life, “The Daily News” is an interesting ride through some stories in the actual New York City newspaper, which ran on a certain October day. The track is complete with sounds of Sadat turning pages and chirping birds in the distance, making you feel like he’s sitting next to you on a park bench reciting the day’s events. Right afterwards comes the hard-hitting “Back to New York,” where the Wild Cowboy comes hard repeating what he’s heard people say and his own feelings about the Big Apple losing its place: “Saying NY don’t hold down that slot no more/We ain’t making people get up on the dance floor/ We rhyming like other niggas/Dressing like other niggas/using other niggas’ slang when that ain’t our thang.” X ends the song by assuring heads that he’ll hold the city down—and he already has with this release.

It’s likely that Experience & Education will bore those used to the mass-produced rap formula. It’s also a safe bet that the return of Sadat X will only interest his longtime fans—but that’s okay because the God is back and it feels like he never left.