X Clan Mainstream Outlawz

X Clan Mainstream Outlawz
Afro-centric political rap group X Clan are already on album number two since the brand name and concept were resurrected in 2006 under the banner of original front-man Brother J, equalling the number of releases by the original foursome. The new X Clan are now pretty much just Brother J, but little has changed with his distinct, baritone voice, '90s flow, or conscious raps. On Mainstream Outlawz, J spends more time repping his status as both a veteran MC and a fiercely independent artist, which ultimately cuts back on the political discourse, in addition to switching styles with his wicked double time raps on "The Lord Spits." He also gives life to the otherwise generic beat selections. Replacing his usual dark and futuristic funk with Ant Banks-inspired Bay Area funk produces only a few standout cuts, like Craig Rip's old school anthem "Down By Law," the dark, spacey "Armageddon DNA," or the Snoop-inspired g-funk of "Piper's Poetry." Much of the rest of the album owes its replay value to the vocals of Brother J. A solid effort, but it's no Return From Mecca. (Suburban Noize)