Words By Prop Jay
When Brand Nubian were going through their rough patch, Sadat X’s Wild Cowboys allowed the man to prove he was valuable to the game without fellow group members Grand Puba and Lord Jamar. Brand Nubian soon returned with Foundation which was mostly viewed as a disappointment and things have not been good ever since, especially during that time he had to spend at Riker’s Island for gun charges. Out of jail for just under 2 years, Sadat X hits us with his not-so-much anticipated album Brand New Bein’, a similar sound to previous work, which coincides with being the album’s ultimate downfall.
From jump, listeners are immediately warped back to 1990 ironically with “All For One ’08.” Only this time, minus Puba and Lord Jamar, it doesn’t work. Stale concoctions abound, listeners are pummeled with nostalgic lectures such as “Goin Back” and the not-so-lyrical “Lyrics?” featuring Craig G.
The highlight of the album, “Nuthin” assisted by CL Smooth, manages to serve the Golden Era justice however. The light jazzy grooves of the extended instrumental gives the two seasoned rappers a proper backdrop to compliment their weathered skills. “Blow Up The Spot”, with KRS-One and Rahzel, arrives as another positive. The combined age of the supporting cast may be 130, but all three of these semi-geriatric MCs step up and show they still have some gas in the tank.
Brand New Bein’s production credits can entirely be attributed to the Rocksteady Crew’s DJs: JS-01 and JW, who provide modestly decent beats which in turn, get disrespected with Sadat X’s off-kilter flow. See “Bullseye” where Buckshot and Jak D overshadow the host with the greatest of ease.
By album’s end, Sadat’s jig is up and Brand New Bein’ doesn’t have the goods to be called a comeback. The overly apparent tone of his inability to escape 97’ shines bright throughout and casts a dark spot on Hip-Hop music. Derek Murphy has failed to grow as an artist over the last decade and decided to unrelentingly scream this to the world with his latest release. The trend of hanging onto the past has been the norm with other veteran rappers and is most likely the probable outcome until their real retirement.