featured REVIEW


Dark Sun Riders Seeds Of Evolution Island • 1996

Nobody really slept on the X-Clan from the Islam influenced hip-hop collective Blackwatch Movement. But when group member Brother J returned with the Dark Sun Riders project, four years after X-Clan’s last album X-Odus, hip-hop heads seemed to be unaware. Don’t expect the crew at work, in fact this is a solo project because Brother J takes all the rhymes for his account.

The album consists of dark, mellow beats and conscious lyrics: every song is altered with a skit containing a message. Brother J walks the same path as he did with the X-Clan, he rhymes (and talks in the skits) wisely about spirituality, morality ('justice is not blind, man is') and ecology. His rhyme patterns are somehow the same, except for the fact that he rhymes more fluently, instead of the almost-talking-type of rappin he did on the X-Clan albums. Not bad, but what makes the album appealing to me are the beats. They have a raw, dark but still mellow character, comparable to the production styles of Dan the Automator, Kutmaster Kurt, Godfather Don and even Company Flow. As this album is from 1996, his production work can be considered experimental as well as groundbreaking.

Highlights on the album are 'Bro-J Theme', with a spacious xylophone loop, just like 'Zoneweilder’s Groove' (if you have D-Shade’s 'Do the Math' 12' on the Canadian Audio Research label you’ll recognize the same xylo sample from the b-side), 'Soulful Ascension' with a break that Dan the Automator used 4 years later on his 'A Better Tomorrow LP' and 'Magnificent Son' with an old school break, Biz Markie’s voice on the chorus and a flipped sound sample. Real nice is 'Feel Move' with a real funky jazz bass line and 'The Revival' with a sirene sample and a groovy bass: production on a higher level.

This album is highly underrated, not a classic but way before it’s time, maybe that’s why cats just weren’t ready for this one in 1996. To the East, blackwards!

POSTED ON 07|15|2004 by cpf

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