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X-Clan Return From Mecca Suburban Noize • 2007

2007 promises to continue the trend for golden era artists to step back in the game. Next up is the infamous X-Clan, overseen by the late Professor X and resurrected by Brother J, one of the most overlooked MC’s in the game. Rumours about a possible comeback have been spreading since the turn of the century but this year is the year of the Red, the Black and the Green (with a key)! A shame Professor X isn’t here to shout it throughout the album though…just for ol times sake.

But if anyone buys this for ‘ol times sake’, they will be either surprised or disappointed. Yes, Brother J is still the driving force behind the crew and goes as good as solo on 'Return From Mecca', a job that suits him well because the Grand Verbalizer still raps like it’s 1990, if not stronger and sharper, much like he carried the whole Dark Sun Riders album. As for the music; things have changed a bit. The music has evolved, using contemporary methods such as synths and hooks. Much less hardcore funk breaks aka P-Funk like on 'To The East Blackwards' and 'X-Odus' but tending towards a more G-funk style that betrays the West Coast input on this album.

The DJ Khalil-produced 'Voodoo' features West Coast phenomena RBX and Quazadelic with a Pharrell-like hook in the chorus. Another invitee from the Left Coast is Chali2Na spitfirin his alliterating sentences over a slow bass roll in 'Funky For You', while the uptempo, raw funk loop of 'Weapon X' is already familiar among fans as it was previously released as a single and as a video. Other guests include KRS-One, on the thunderous boombap and DJ-anthem track 'Speak The Truth' with the Blastmaster going 'I don’t care about them critics and their biases, I am hip-hop, I don’t depend on appliances'; glorious, as Brother J and KRS are hip-hop history impersonated.

Funk and boombap is altered with electrifying party joints such as the synth-infected 'Positrons' and the club banger 'Mecca'. Daring, if you ask us, but at the same time we haven’t heard a much tighter mixture of revolutionary raps and club vibes in a while. The jiggy 'Atonement' continues on the same chilled-out, exotic manner but the contrast with the serious lyrics couldn’t be bigger. A group with a certain curriculum vitae in hip-hop soundin this daring and fresh, it’s still possible! Any bad song? Well, not really, yeah well, the David Bowie cover 'Americans' is a nice attempt but doesn’t move us, but it shows the creativity and will to innovate.

No matter you like the 'new' X-Clan or not, we can only support groups that dare to adapt their style and evolve, even if it’s an all-time favourite group of which the old albums still fulfil one with much melancholia and memory lane trips. X-Clan has taken their discography a step forward and adjusted their music well to this day and age. And Brother J…well, he’s still one of the tightest MC’s around and hasn’t lost anything from his revolutionary acts. Vanglorious!


POSTED ON 01|20|2007 by cpf

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