Revolutionary Funk! - 100% Masterpiece
, January 2, 2009
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When it comes to politically charged pro-black hip-hop, X-Clan were among the finest. The potency of their message can only be matched by Public Enemy, and "To the East, Blackwards" is a protest-rap masterpiece. The original lineup as presented here, consists of lead rapper Brother J, Professor X, Paradise, & Sugar Shaft. Brother J provides the ultimate vision of the group, bringing a smooth, demanding flow, delivering an impeccable mission of revolution. The Overseer Professor X provides the militant-style words of wisdom, such as the very memorable "This is protected by the red, the black, and the green, with a key, sissiiiiieeeeeeeees!". Paradise & Sugar Shaft hold down the Parliament-Funkadelic inflicted production nicely, which balances out Brother J & Professor X's strong political messages with a healthy dose of fun and memorability.
In many respects, it's surprising they only made it to #11 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts in 1990 since the record just never stops hitting in it's entirety. Not a single skippable moment is present. On the other hand, these guys didn't exactly have the most mainstream-friendly appearance back in the golden age. Nevertheless, this record shares a longevity on the level of Public Enemy, and BDP's finest moments. Some of my favorites would include "Funkin' Lesson", "Grand Verbalizer, What Time Is It?", "Tribal Jam", "Raise The Flag" and "Heed The Word Of The Brother". You won't find a moment of filler to speak of.
X-Clan would go on to make one more excellent album before they disbanded in 1992 ("Xodus"). Many went on to join other collectives/groups and to record solo projects. In 1995 Sugar Shaft died from AIDS. Professor X went on to record two solo albums before he died from spinal meningitis in 2006. In late 2006, Brother J reformed X-Clan for their superb, near classic endeavor "Return From Mecca". One can only hope a force this powerful will continue making hip-hop in this much needed time of it's existence.