X Clan Return from Mecca

In the mind of the today’s hip-hop fan, a seminal group such as X Clan barely registers as more than a passing footnote in hip-hop history. Their first studio album since 1992’s Xodus, the expectations for an Afrocentric rap squad in the post-millennium era are decidedly different from X Clan’s pro-black heyday. Older heads will likely check this out to see if X Clan’s funk-filled righteousness has been replaced with weary sanctimonious banter or, at the very least, lost momentum due to last year’s untimely passing of founder Professor X from meningitis. It’s good to confirm that Return from Mecca maintains a relevant edge, even over funk snares, jazzy sounds and snappy old school beats provided by the likes of DJ Quik, Bean One, DJ Khalil and Jake One. The themes of social justice, personal enlightenment and knowledge of self are all present, and they are not as boring as they sound. "The Red, The Black and The Green” is fully represented in tracks such as "Weapon X,” "Trump Card” and "Speak the Truth" featuring KRS-One. Return from Mecca is unlikely to register with the mainstream but it’s surprisingly better than initially expected. It’s a blueprint for conscious living in a jacked up era. (Suburban Noize)