In the early 90s, XClan emerged within a small legion of pro-Black, Afrocentric and sometimes militant rap artists. Included in this movement were your Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, the Native Tongue collective, Queen Latifah, Paris and the group that overshadowed all others, Public Enemy.
Xodus, the Clan's sophomore effort is a confrontive and uncompromising explosion of funk, knowledge and breakbeats. Professor X, like Flavor Flav, is the hype man of sorts and shotcaller to Brother J's insistant and deliberate delivery. And Brother J, like on To the East Blackwards, is a monsterous emcee with an assaulting flow reminiscent of a minister. His diction and delivery commanded attention and was as convincing as any emcee out at the time--including the Chucks, Cubes and KRS's.
Sadly, XClan peaked right before the end of the RBG movement in popular urban music. Had this album been pushed back even a few months, it might not have been released by Polygram, if at all. The only real avenue for nationwide exposure (radio, video or otherwise) play was BET which is where I came across their video for "Fire and Earth" which had such an impact even though their theology and politics were much heavier than Public Enemy. Over the last seven years, there's been a rumbling of more Afrocentric hip hop even though the airwaves have been dominated with skinny white rappers (or singular "rapper" as the case may be) and your typical gun-toting, coke-dealing gangsterisms. There's even been a few XClan side projects, but with Professor X now deceased, it's safe to say that XClan will never fully return to form.
I read the other day that they're actually doing a tour with Jurassic 5. Sad but true, XClan will be the opening act.
It's a rare album so, if you find it, buy it. Or else I will. I've got three copies and wouldn't mind owning three more. Here's a hint: check the bargain bins first because I've never paid more than $1.50 for it. And I believe both are in deep, deep Fontana catalog--that dark corner that's rarely ever worked.
"Fire and Earth"
"Holy Rum Swig"