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X-Clan -- Return From Mecca (Suburban Noize)

By Kevin Britton · January 31st, 2007 · Short Takes
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  X-Clan -- Return From Mecca
X-Clan -- Return From Mecca



Hip Hop has changed -- for the worse, some argue -- since X-Clan released their last full-length CD in 1992. Crunk music and her Bay Area-bred cousin Hyphy now represent the dominant sounds in mainstream Rap, and most people within Rap's target demographic are more concerned with "ghostriding the whip" than with political and social activism.

So the release of Return From Mecca after a 15-year hiatus is a bold move that X-Clan gracefully pulls off as though they'd spent the last decade and a half preparing. With the exception of the banging lead single, "Weapon X," which contains a comfortably familiar "They Call Me D-Nice" sample, X-Clan avoids the predictable formula of lifting recognizable Funk and Soul hooks. "Voodoo" contains a bed of densely layered synths and '70s-style back-up vocals, as lyricist Brother J reminds us that "when they say Hip Hop, they don't expect (the) civilized to manifest with content." On the celestial "Positrons," J delves into familiar metaphysical territory and proclaims that "for the life, man, woman and seeds, evolution is the golden key." Yet Mecca's high point is "Speak the Truth," the long overdue collabo between J and KRS-One. Those who recall their rumored ideological differences will be delighted to hear them join forces; Kris wastes no time clarifying on his first verse, "I'm not a pacifist, I'll kick your ass in this." While old schoolers will miss the late Professor X's raspy speeches about crossroads and pink caddies, Brother J and his new army successfully reignite the mental revolution with this collection of substantive tracks. (Kevin Britton) Grade: A-

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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