While everyone is debating whether or not hip-hop is dead, there are still a few emcees that are trying to prove that she is not. One crew that proves hip-hop is very much alive is also one of the originators of positive hip-hop. Hold your head as we return from the east black wards with X-Clan!Their new album, Return From Mecca, is a welcome change from one of the most respected and conscious hip-hop groups ever. We are talking about the same group that was responsible for classic hip-hop albums like To The East Blackwards, and more importantly, introducing a new political message in music. The Blackwatch Movement was bigger than hip-hop and many emcees found comfort and creative freedom within it.
Professor X literally dropped science on you in the first 30 seconds of each track, with his patented “Ahhhh…this is protected by the red, the black, and the green….with a key! Sissseeee”. The beats would hit you on some P-Funk, Bomb Squad, futuristic hip-hop, drawing comparisons to the sound of Public Enemy, X-Clan’s message hit hard as hell out the Alpines and Kenwoods. If you had a booming system and loved hip-hop you had to have Funkin’ Lesson in your trunk. X-Clan introduced a new style of hip-hop that would have a timeless impact. Brother J was holding it down at the front-line of X-Clan and is now the last remaining original member of the group. He brings in new soldiers to X-Clan and continues the movement with this new CD. Ultraman Ra Hanna, ACL, DJ FatJack, Kumu M. Haynes and Master China are the newly assembled X-Clan and Return From Mecca is a instant classic album. Long live real hip-hop music. Here’s the rundown.
X-Clan – Return from Mecca-Suburban Noize Records
1. X CLAN ALBUM INTRO – The flight jumps off with African drums lighting up the background as the introduction to Return From Mecca sets the tone.
2. ARAGORN – J takes it to Spain with this one. I believe he might have been more inspired by the movie of the same name than the Spanish region. Regardless the track is a nice opener to the album.
3. VOODOO feat. RBX & Quazedelic –RBX steps in with the Professor X styled intro, as Brother J and Quazedelic flip verses and hooks on this slick track. Too black, too strong!
4. HOVERCRAFT INTRO –Bringing you back from Mecca blackwards with the ill skit, the ride continues as we take flight in the hovercraft…
5. WHY U DOIN THAT? – A classic example of X-Clan’s message and style, with Brother J giving you some real talk. Street knowledge and conscious living equals a blue ribbon!
6. WEAPON X – This is the lead single from the album. With it’s re-working of “My Name is D-Nice” fuzzy bass line as a foundation; Brother J can’t lose with this ultra banger beat.
7. SPEAK THE TRUTH feat. KRS One – A nice track with the Grand Verbalizer teaming up with the Teacher equals one of the standout tracks on the album. KRS is in prime time stride with J on this track. This is one of the tightest songs on the CD.
8. POSITRONS –X-Clan works it out on their mid tempo fuzzy keyboard funk. Sound nice in the ride, easy now man style to ride to while J breaks the positrons down. Tight.
9. MECCA –Bounce to this funky synth track as J and Jah Orah liven up the party.
10. PRISON feat. Christian Scott –X Clan speaks out on the on going slavery of today’s prison system with this haunting track. Prison reform is the issue that needs to be heard, this song should help raise awareness on this problem. One of the standout songs on the CD, hands down. (Not for nuthin’ this is where the CD starts to heat up as well)
11. ATONEMENT feat. Jah Orah –With the vibraphone rasta style laying the foundation, Brother J and Jah Orah schools us with conscious power and pleads for Atonement. Cool vibe on this one with its radio ready bounce.
12. BROTHER, BROTHER produced by DJ Quik –Synthesizer funk prevails on this DJ Quik produced track. J revives the classic X-Clan line “Brother, Brother, Brother” for the new jacks out there.
13. FUNKY 4 U feat. Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 – Brother J digs into hip-hop history with the Nice & Smooth inspired hook. No dancing in bright suits for X-Clan, J teams up with Chali 2na for a deep toned, collabo classic. Nice thump with this one.
14. SELF DESTRUCT –J builds on the topic of self destruction, as he notes the origins of street gangs and the underground. Let’s work it out now, this is a cool track.
15. SPACE PEOPLE feat. Quazedelic –Way too funky for the radio, this on is the anthem to space people every where.
16. TRUMP CARD feat. Hannah Barbera – Yet another banger from X-Clan, this one had that classic boom bap along with trumpets clearing the way for J to lay his verbs down. One of the hottest beats on the album.
17. TO THE EAST feat. Abstract Rude & YZ – Collaboration with three prime emcees, YZ reps for the Blackwatch Movement along with Abstract Rude and J. DJs should give this some burn!
18. LOCOMOTION feat. Brad X of Kottonmouth Kings & Tri State of One Session – The Suburban Noize Camp joins in with the Clan on this one, as Tri State and Brad X help with the lyrics to give us on of Suburban Noize another hit!
19. AMERICANS feat. Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach – Yet another radio ready track, as Jacoby from Papa Roach and X-Clan team up. Nice one!
20. 3RD EYES ON ME –J gives a nod to the late great Tupac Shakur and reworks the title track to his famous album. Fitting as all hip-hop heads with their eye sight intact are definitely looking his way.
21. CULTURE UNITED feat. Damian Marley – Word is this song almost didn’t make it on the album, as it was one of the last to be recorded. Brother J teams up with the Marley Brothers for an amazing reggae/hip-hop joint. Another hot track!
22. RESPECT feat Tech N9ne – X-Clan rides out with Tech N9ne and puts a wrap on this album nicely.
Final Verdit—X-Clan Return From Mecca = Vanglorious Hip Hop! Cop That!!!
There are a few sites up that are featuring free downloads of the new X-Clan album. Check them out while you can! Visit XClanmusic.com for more details and the streaming mix tape.
Make sure you visit MP3.com to stream the entire CD Return From Mecca for FREE! For a limited time, I would imagine, so go check it out!
Brother J (X Clan) on Def Poetry
Martin Luther King Jr. – X-Clan