X-Clan - Return From Mecca CD
|X-Clan are back! 'One of the genre's most powerful and influential hip hop crews ever; have returned after nearly a decade-long hiatus. Making its debut in 1990 with the classic To The East Backwards, X-Clan was at the forefront of hip-hop's cultural movement. With hits like 'Funkin' Lesson,' 'Heed The World of the Brother,' and 'Raise The Flag,' X-Clan secured hip-hop as a vehicle to advance the science and math of upliftment, popularizing the ideas of Malcolm X, Sonny Carson, Huey Newton, and Clarence 13X, while keeping dance floors packed. Led by Brother J, the Clan's founder and original lead MC, X-Clan is ready to move your mind, body, and spirit.' - From One-Sheet. Rest In Power, Professor X!|
|Produced by DJ Quik, Jake One, DJ Khalil, Quazadelic, Fat Jack, J-Thrill, and DJ Orator.|
|5.||Why You Doin That|
|9.||Speak The Truth|
|14.||Funky For You|
|17.||To The East|
One of the best comeback albums of the millennium! (4.5 stars)
, January 2, 2009
- See all my reviews
The last album X-Clan dropped was all the way back in 1992 ("Xodus"). The group disbanded after that album to pursue other collective & solo projects. In 1995, original member Sugar Shaft died from AIDS. Shortly before the making of this album, Professor X died from spinal meningitis. With Paradise out of the picture, that left Brother J to single-handedly reform X-Clan for their comeback masterwork in 2006. The results are incredible. Brother J in particular sounds like he never left the booth. You would hardly believe his skill has not decreased since the golden age. He enlists a slew of producers, some veterans, but mostly new and fresh talent. The result of the production is near-perfect, and the chemistry is jaw-dropping.
01. X-Clan Album Intro: A nice tribal-rhythm background with past legends and new producers reintroducing X-Clan to the scene.
02. Aragorn: Quazedelic sets it off with a fresh, memorable beat. Brother J spits like he never took a break from the game. Guest rapper RBX adds nicely.
03. Voodoo: One of my favorites here; and also a throwback to the "Grand Verbalizer"/"Tribal Jam" days of 1990 with classic Professor X lines intertwined. Brother J slides smoothly into DJ Khalil's throwback beat. Pure dope!
04. Hovercraft Intro: A nice intro the blends nicely with the next cut
05. Why U Doin That?: Bean One's production flows nicely around Brother J's worldly commentary. After all these years, Brother J finds excellent ways to speak on wrenching matters. A quote from Afrika Bambaataa leads into the next cut.
06. Weapon X: UltraMan takes care of this cut, and it's nice spin on a CTA (?) classic. Again, Brother J's lyricism is in top notch form, delivery memorable verses and choruses.
07. Speak The Truth: This may be my favorite cut here. Jake One nails the soundscape....very memorable, and KRS-One delivers complete fire on his verse. A complete banger!
08. Positrons: This beat is produced by Quazedelic, and sounds similar to Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot". It's very different from the cuts that come before it, and Brother J delivers nice verses and choruses. Nice variety. A quote from Chuck D leads into the nest cut.
09. Mecca: Quazedelic is back again with another nice mix of samples/beats, adding nice instruments and tweaked out vocal samples. Jah Orah adds a rasta/reggae vibe to the song with his appearance. It works well with the protest vibe.
10. Prison: "It's gonna take people who are willing to fight. Not people who want to negotiate with the enemy". On this cut, Brother J tackles issues of slavery & freedom. Proh Mic produces the cut, and it's arguably the finest production on the whole disc. Christian Scott adds nice vocals to the mix. Not sure if they got a live trumpeter for this track, but it makes this track gold!
11. Atonement: Another cut from DJ Fat Jack, and this one is xylophone driven. Jah Orah adds his rasta/reggae vocals on this one too, and it works well.
12. Brother, Brother: West coast legend DJ Quik produces this cut, and it definitely adds a nice flavor to the mix. It seems Brother J can flow over just about anything. Nice scratching from Quik too. Heat!
13. Funky 4 U: Another banger from Quazedelic. Chali 2NA (of Jurassic 5) shows up here, and makes it an all-out banger.
14. Self Destruct: The up-and-coming J Thrill produces this acoustic guitar-laced cut. Brother J speaks on the struggles of addiction and self-destructive behavior. Introspective as always.
15. Space People: I'm convinced Quazedelic will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. He mixes another excellent cut here of various instruments and tones. Brother J and Quaz definitely have some nice chemistry. Not only that, Quazedelic can rap, and he proves it on this cut.
16. Trump Card: ACL & DJ Fat Jack handle the production duties here. It has a classic boom-bap thump to it. Female rapper Hannah Barbera (whom I never heard of before) kills her verse here. Nice to see some new talent.
17. To The East: ACL & DJ Fat Jack provide the beats here as well. It's more atmospheric this time around. It features excellent verses from Abstract Rude & old-school vet YZ. Nice cut all in all.
18. Locomotion: Proh Mic produces this cut. Daddy X (of Kottonmouth Kings and Humble Gods) & Tri State add pretty nice verses to the mix.
19. Americans: This certainly seams like a misstep in the album's quality run. Jacoby Shaddix (of the nu-metal band Papa Roach) takes care of the screaming chorus. While it adds a different flavor to the mix, it's not a good one in my opinion. The production from P. Shevelin just doesn't match Brother J much.
20. 3rd Eyes On Me: DJ Fat Jack delivers a nice synth flavored beat here. Overall, this one works nice, but some of the momentum gets lost.
21. Culture United: Damian Marley & Stephen Marley lace this one with all-out reggae production. Not a bad cut. Brother J delivers nicely, but I'm honestly just not feeling Damian's vocals on this track.
22. Respect: Tech N9ne stops by on the last cut of the album. Not bad, but not great either.
Overall, had they trimmed the fat on their 77-minute magnum opus of a comeback, I would have had no problem handing out 5-stars to "Return From Mecca". The quality that Brother J and the wealth of new talent he brings to the table is outstanding. Some of these new producers have some nice resume pieces here. Not only is "Return From Mecca" one of the best releases of 2006, it's also one of the best veteran-comebacks of the new millennium. Vanglorious!