MVRemix caught up with Mr. Lif while on tour with Cage at Richards on Richards in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, (July 2006). This interview was never added to the site in a transcribed form and is only available through this video.
by Jeremy Simmonds
MVRemix: Where in the world have you toured?
Dru Down: I’ve been all over. Everywhere except China.
MVRemix: That would be pretty big if Dru Down rocked China. Have you been to Canada?
Dru Down: Yeah I’ve been to Canada a few times. As far as rocking shows, I’ve never done one, but I’ve been there cuz I do this pimp thang! You know what talking â€˜bout I’m real in the fields.
MVRemix: In September of 2006 you dropped your sixth studio album titled “Cash Me Out” in collaboration with your cousin Lee Majors. Tell everyone out there about this project and your upcoming “Crack Muzic” mixtapes?
Dru Down: Crack Muzic is all out about taking a mutahfucka-it’s going to be inspired by it’s some different from Dru Down. People ain’t heard me rap over others, been waiting for. It’s with my blood cousins, but at the same time there gonna have to love my cousinsâ€¦which is real family.
MVRemix:In your music you make a point to express your roots and where you come from. Tell me about how Oakland shaped you as a person and why you take such pride in representing your town?
Dru Down: I’m 35, people don’t know. I feel like I’m still 20, like Jay Z. We’re out here in the gusto, if you see me you think of that. Hyphy is just another term of mobbin’. As far as the 50s, that’s the hometown. That’s my base, that’ my heart, that’s where I was raised. I been here for a lifetime. Everyone have a grandchild when they been here, I been back in forth between counties in La. But you know I stay town bound to the fullest. East Oakland, North and West, that’s my town, we all Oakland.
MVRemix: Do you ever feel as though you’d get more acclaim and attention if you were based in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta?
Dru Down: Well right now maybe Atlanta, â€˜cause it’s on fire. Right now they on fire. We had that, then LA took it, and New York. But as far as respect, I get respect as soon as I step off a plane. I’m different by my ways, I stay oceaned up, curls, gold teeth, town business all the time. People ain’t gona say I’m NY, people know I’m a Cali cat, you know East O.
MVRemix: On a number of your songs you talk about police corruption and police brutality, such as “Bad Boys” among others.
Dru Down: Police ain’t nothing but a gang. They’ve been a gang, that’s way back if you look at the Al Capone days. They made it bigger, legit, just to stop him. People may do crime in the streets, and they’re made to catch it. That’s all it is, some people don’t understand crime, they a gang. Fuck the police, in my book. Any time they try to arrest me, I’m running. Any time they try to put a cuff on me, I’m out the dirt! American society is up on police brutality, that’s why people run, cuz of the situation of brutality. They don’t know what’s gonna happen. But when you’re legit, you can talk shit! [laughs]
MVRemix: Explain the origin of your word “pimpydoism” and what it means.
Dru Down: Oh pimpydoism is a mix of everything. That’s me, within all the game a mofo got and what goes with it, town business, within family origin of blood line; a pimp.
MVRemix: You have a lot of character and creativity in your writing and rapping. Among them is Jackrabbit the Bugsy. How would you describe that character, how it is incorporated into your music, and you come up with it?
Dru Down: Just fast rapping, Dru Down is typically more slow, but from my album “Pimpin Phernelia” that’s how everyone know about Jackrabbit the Bugsy. The fast style of rhyming.
by Todd E. Jones
Sadat X is a caged legend. As a member of Brand Nubian, he has performed timeless verses on the classic songs such as “Slow Down”, “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down”, “One For All”, and “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone”. As a solo artist, he has achieved an undeniable credibility. His solo track “The Lump Lump” is a magnificent remarkable track that incorporated a vocal sample from Groove Theory’s “Tell Me”. The song, “Hang Em High” used a sample from the theme song to “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”. His classic debut LP, “Wild Cowboys” is an under appreciated magnum opus. Released on Loud Records, “Wild Cowboys” featured production by Pete Rock, Roc Raider, DJ Ogee, Da Beatminerz, Diamond, and others. Released on Stimulated Records, “The State Of New York Vs. Derek Murphy” EP was also terribly slept on. The EP featured production from A Kid Called Roots, Diamond, Minnesota, and more. Standout tracks included “X-Man”, “Cock It Back”, and “You Can’t Deny”. After signing to Female Fun Records, Sadat X released the “Experience & Education” LP. Guests included Heltah Skeltah, Agallah, Edo.G, and Money Boss Players. Production was handled by Agallah, Geology, DJ Spinna, Vin The Chin, Diamond D, Madsol-Desar, Sha Boogie, Minnesota, and A Kid Called Roots. Throughout the years, the emcee has worked with a myriad of legendary artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Edo.G, Common, Large Professor, Big L, Guru (of Gangstarr), Vast Aire, O.G.C., A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, Kool Keith, Xzibit, The Beat Kids, Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane, Greg Nice, and many more. His nasal sounding voice is a significant attribute that makes him sound unlike any other emcee. His unorthodox flow and loose structure of his verses accentuate his uniqueness. His verses are loose, but somehow always tight. He has made his offbeat delivery sound perfectly on beat. His multiple contributions to the hip-hop culture are soulfully based in truth.
The wild cowboy is now behind bars. Professionally, Sadat X was living a positive life while free. He has coached basketball, taught in schools, and even released a new Brand Nubian album with the original members (Grand Puba and Lord Jamar). Ironically, Lord Jamar portrayed Supreme Allah is the HBO prison series “Oz”. Spiritually rich, Sadat X was enlightened when he became a member of the Muslim organization known as The Nation Of Gods & Earths. Unfortunately, a money dispute caused intense conflicts in New York. Someone snitched on the wild cowboy! Sadat X was arrested for gun possession. At the time, he was facing almost a year in jail.
“â€¦Stages and cameras and lights don’t affect me. Same on the wax as the same on the streetâ€¦” (from “Stages & Lights” from the “Wild Cowboys” LP). The music of Sadat X is admirably honest and vividly real. Before he had to start his jail sentence, Sadat X completed an entire album. “Black October” by Sadat X was released around the same time he went inside. The opening title track (produced by DJ Spinna) is a poignantly heartbreaking look at his preparation for his incarceration. In the brutally honest “Momentary Outro”, Sadat X tells the story behind how he got arrested. Like the song “The Daily News” (from “Experience & Education”), “The Post” (produced by Diamond D) features Sadat X free styling by using the headlines from the newspaper. Produced by Ayatollah, “Throw The Ball” is a vivid picture of a family barbeque. Produced by The Asmatic, “Eternally Yours” is a heartfelt atmospheric track. J-Zone produces the excellent “X Is A Machine”. Fellow Brand Nubian members, Grand Puba and Lord Jamar joint Sadat X on “Chosen Few”. Produced by Scotty Blanco, “Million Dollar Deal” features X pondering what he would do if he had the opportunity to sign a record deal for $1 million. Da Beatminerz produce the sonically rich “On The Come Thru”. Hidden tracks include a fantastic remix of “God Is Back” and another song about a woman trying to turn Sadat’s girlfriend into a lesbian. The album offers a harsh view of the struggles of Dotty X. Like life, the emotional spectrum is offered. Sadat X displays his love for his family and girlfriend. His anger and frustration is evident when rhyming about his legal problems. Some songs showcase his sharp skills as an emcee. The “Black October” LP is the most realistic and honest hip-hop album in a very long time.
NOTE: This is a lost interview in 2 parts. Conducted in November 2006 while Sadat X was locked up in Rikers Island, this first section was not completed until March 2007. As of this time of writing, the second part has yet to be completed. Hopefully, Sadat X and I can have an in-depth conversation when he is free.
Sadat X may be incarcerated, but his music cannot be chained. The great Dotty X is the wild cowboy who has already left an immortal mark on the hip-hop culture. His indelible contribution to hip-hop demands absolute respect and acknowledgement. From his signature vocal tone to his and funky delivery, Sadat X is truly one of a kind. New York may have locked up the man, but they did not lock up his spirit. Sadat X, keep your head up!