X-Clan is back with their Return From Mecca
What is the definition of conscious Hip Hop music? Ask Brother J. Yeah, the one from X-Clan. Why do I bring it up? X-Clan just dropped the new album, Return From Mecca. Every song on that release is a conscious power hit. Incredible production efforts entwined with meticulously crafted lyricism and empowered by targeted much needed messages all resulted in the most unexpected album of the year.
KRS, Chali 2Na and others joined in to intensify the effect of these songs. Weapon X took everyone back to when music mattered. Rap was not there only to amuse and entertain. Artists made statements. They mattered past their album sales. They cared more about people and their social dilemmas than about the next endorsement.
So, did X-Clan make a bunch of songs that only the ‘old-schoolers’ can appreciate? The phenomenon of this album is the ability of the band to combine the objectified yet neglected topics with the masterful delivery of the Brother J flow and empower the songs with skillful production efforts and club-worthy overall presence.
Putting on 2 tours all over the country, and several album release parties, the Clan had a chance to remind people what real Hip Hop can do in 2007. One of the tours was dedicated to the album, with acts off of it, including YZ, Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, KRS and more and the other tour they did with the Public Enemy. On stage their messages were not only delivered through the songs.
Paradise was full of fire and excitement talking to the audience. “Get off of that MySpace and Limewire bullshit. Put away those X Box controllers.” where would a true conscious artist be without spreading some of the knowledge at all times? “Time has been wasted!” “No justice, no peace!” “Take the Hip Hop back!” Those statements mean something to all people, but how many are willing to listen? “Men, stand the fuck up!”
Brother J’s songs talk about the very issues that people understand. The rate of incarcerations, the lack of knowledge and desire to affect the problems, the crimes committed against each other and more are all topics of his lyrics.
Giving credit to Dead Prez and Immortal Technique for making statements in their music, Brother J kept the same approach during his Public Enemy tour. The Black Panthers may have not been allowed backstage, but the fact that they even showed up made the much-needed statement.
The fight did not die as a result of abolishment of slavery or the positive changes in the African-American rights in general. It didn’t die with the assassination of Malcolm X either. It did encounter a serious slump with the invention of commercialized entertainment in Hip Hop and beyond. From MTV, BET and Hot 97 to the wide-spread of the use of the N word, degrading female references and the obsession with the drug culture, the fight is more real than it ever was. Now the enemy is not as clear-cut. It is well hidden in the mind of the consumer. Now, is the time X-Clan’s album can and is making the much needed impact.
YZ and Brother J gave their interviews to WNT, where they spoke their minds. Read those and then go buy Return From Mecca. We all need it now more than ever.