TO THE EAST BLACKWARDS: X CLAN Saturday 02 June, 2012

1990. Hip Hop remembered that it could be political and we got given a Funkin’ Lesson!

X Clan’s Afrocentric agenda is transparent and obvious when listening to this album. At times it proves a little uncomfortable when ‘the devil’ seems to be being bandied about. For me though this album is, musically, a slice of hip hop at it’s very best. The funk samples used here hadn’t yet become played out and there are few examples of them being to any better use.

When it comes to awesome bass-lines this album has got it going on. Just stop for a moment and listen to Verbal Milk. That is straight up slap funk. It’s laid back, menacing and oh-so cool. There’s a lot of Parliament and Funkadelic (there’s also a bit of Genius of Love) here but it’s put to different use. It’s not the same style of Dre’s laid back g-funk it’s more east coast flavoured (thankfully). There’s an energy to a lot of the tracks on this album. This is hip hop that you might actually dance to not just want to get stoned to.

X Clan, vocally at least, seems to consist of Brother J and Professor X. Lets get this out of the way. Professor X can become annoying quite quickly but thankfully he has even less vocal duties than Flavor Flav or even Ringo. It’s therefore quite easy to filter out his ranting about pink Cadillacs, the red, the black and the green (“with a key. SISSYYYYYYEEEE”).

We all need a Funkin’ Lesson from time to time and there are few better teachers in the world of hip hop then X Clan circa 1990.


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