Return From Mecca

Artist: X-ClanTitle: Return From MeccaRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: AJ Fresh

On X-Clan's new album Return From Mecca (Suburban Noize) much is taught and much can be learned. X Clan, the uncompromising pro-black rap group that came onto the Hip-Hop scene with their unique sound of funk and notable lyrics in the early 90's, continue on a path led by righteous lyricism over funky beats. Noteworthy underground and mainstream production handiwork from the likes of DJ Quik, DJ Khalil, Jake One and Bean One make this CD a must have.

Return From Mecca begins with X-Clan's usual revolutionary speech delivered by the resounding baritone voice of co-founder and spokesman, Brother J, over African sounds including, drums and jungle noises. On the Quazedelic produced "Aragorn", the groove is reminiscent of George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", equipped with the relevant P-Funk sounds including robotic noises and sounds of landing spaceships, all over a steady drum riff. On "Why You Doin' That", produced by Bean One, the listener is drawn into profound lyrics about genocide, knowledge of self and terrorism over hypnotic thriller mystery tunes delivered with over strong hi-hats.

The CD packed with old school feeling TR-808 snare beats, heavy bass lines, steady melodies of violins, piano chords with jazzy trumpets, all mixed in with hardcore DJ scratching and reggae tinged sounds. The album literally catapults the listener to the times when producers took their music seriously and did not have to rely solely on computer-generated sounds. This thought is confirmed on "Speak The Truth" a collaboration with the one and only, KRS-One, produced by Jake One. KRS–One frankly states, "I am Hip-Hop I don't depend on appliances/Meaning that when I'm speaking my rap/I don't need any technology to produce it, in fact!"

With the untimely passing of the X-Clan's founder Professor X from meningitis in March 2006, the group's message is as pertinent as ever. X-Clan is set to continue their message of social justice and cultural enlightenment and bring positive lyrical content to an often-negative rap world. As the late Professor X would likely agree, Return From Mecca is "Vainglorious, and is protected by the Red, The Black and The Green."