As another year of microwave rap albums draws to a close, even the decent LP’s have long since worn out their welcome. Seemingly out of nowhere, The Great Dot X steps back into the picture, sounding rejuvinated and back to his usual top form following the musically forgettable Fire In The Hole. Vocally, Experience & Education (Female Fun) and serves up a the goods as X takes to the booth with authority and confidence, his signature unorthadox delivery sounding better than ever.
In terms of the range of topics and moods presented here, this is easily 2005’s most accomplished release, but the wide range of producers brought on board disrupts the clarity of his vision. It’s bad enough that Agallah provides an uneccesary remake of DST‘s “Grandmixer Cuts It Up” on “Stack Up”, but astute listeners might notice that it’s been looped straight off the Zulu Beat CD! “Back To New York” features a weak Hammond organ dollar bin beat, and “Ge-ology Beat” is pretty much unlistenable.
“The Great Diamond D” finds D back to his David Axelrod sampling best, while the remix to “Come On Down” manages to improve on the already great original from the Heavy Bronx project, and features memorable verses from Sonny Cheeba and G.S, who delivers the killer line: “I’ll punch you in your face – I don’t care if you’re an ill rapper!”. “Shine” is another Money Boss team-up which from a couple of years back that still sounds incredible. The strength of these contributions from Diamond D, the P Brothers and Minnesotta shine so brightly that they only serve to highlight the mediocrity of some of the other beats.
If the whole album had maintained this quality of music, it would have been a five-star classic, but regardless of any sonic weaknesses, Sadat brings back that authentic New York vibe with every bar and keeps the listeners interest even when the beats don’t knock. Narratives such as the moody, dub guitar driven “Help Yourself”, the innovative, stream-of-conciousness “Daily News” and the aforementioned “Stack Up” demonstate why Sadat is still a relevant – and, equally important, entertaining - MC in 2005. Without a doubt, my pick for album of the year.
Sadat X featuring Heltah Skeltah – The Great Diamond D (Experience & Education, Female Fun, 2005)
Review copy supplied courtesy of Female Fun.
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