SADAT X with SHAD-K , ULTRA MAGNUS and DJ ROD SKIMMINS as part of the ACADEMY and ELECTIC.DYSLEXIC magazine launch at the El Mocambo, October 29. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 60. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If Saturday night's amazing mash-out on the second floor of the El Mo was a good representation of all the Academy (formerly M1 Academy) events run by mic-masher Masia One and her cyberkrib.com cronies, hopefully the meagre crowd wasn't. I'm going to go ahead and blame pre-Halloween-Monday weekend festivities as the reason you slept on Sadat X from Brand Nubian, one of the founding fathers of conscious hiphop.
And it was not only Sadat X (whose amazingly nasal voice makes him hiphop's human clarinet), but a hodgepodge of other fun shit.
This was also a launch party for an issue of Justin Lee 's Eclectic. Dyslexic subversive pop culture satire magazine ( eclecticdyslexic.com), which was distributed and projected on the wall next to the stage. In the back, people sold activistic postcards and other bohemian paraphernalia.
Shad-K , armed with an electric acoustic guitar, a pretty decent beatboxer named Thoughtbug and DJ Rod Skimmins , drew people up from the back with a genuinely exciting set. A cover of Das EFX's Real Hip-Hop, some slick, clever internal rhymes and self-deprecating style were enough to forgive an explosion of feedback and Shad-K shrewdly "freestyling" to cover a forgotten verse three in one song.
While Masia One hustled around in an afro wig wielding a video camera, Ultra Magnus , a tight (and refreshingly out of place) nine-piece Afrobeat funk band with an alien-mask-sporting lead singer, kept things hot while the Drunken Monkz b-girls and -boys did some wild shit in front of the stage.
Near 1 am, the beat from his Common collab 1-9-9-9 dropped and Sadat X took the short step onstage with minimal fanfare except for his own contact-lens-shattering voice blaring into the mic with the might of an air horn. Twenty-five people gathered near the low stage - a slight problem. Your pharmacist is better elevated than Sadat was. The intimacy felt a bit uncomfortable cuz of the low turnout.
But "I don't care if there's one or five people here," Sadat honked with mantra-like repetition throughout his lengthy set. "I just wanna rock, man."
And with the quality standards of a true-schooler, kicking smart new solo stuff, characteristically pious raps and putting his heart into his mid-90s Loud solo classics like Wild Cowboys, Lump Lump and Hang 'Em High, X rocked the spot.