The year was 1990, the month April. I was 12 with my Africa medallion around my neck and my fist in the air.

That was the year that I was introduced to X-Clan speaking truth to power with their debut album To the East, Blackwards. It was an instant favorite of mine and to this day, that album is in heavy rotation in my iPod.

18 years later, X-Clan’s words still have true meaning for me and so today, I thought I’d give them a shout-out, in particular to my boy Brotha J who I owe a call to, lol!

With all of this talk about race, today is a perfect day to revisit X-Clan.

For those who don’t know, the original X-Clan was a hip hop group from Brooklyn, composed of Grand Verbalizer Funkin’ Lesson Brother J, Professor X the Overseer, Paradise the Architect, and Sugar Shaft the Rhythm Provider. Today’s X-Clan features leader Brother J, Master China, Kumu, “Ultraman” Ra Hanna, ACL, Lord Cza, DJ Fat Jack and Zulu.

X-Clan was known for their Afrocentrism as member of the Blackwatch movement, X-Clan soon gained fame for the controversy its music aroused in empowering Blacks and speaking about our African roots and America’s racist government.

Looking at the current state of today’s hip-hop, it really makes me long for the days when X-Clan’s message was at its loudest.

In 1994 Brother J formed a new group, Dark Sun Riders, that released the full-length Seeds of Evolution in 1996. In 1995, long-time group member Sugar Shaft died from complications of AIDS. X-Clan reunited in the late 1990s but did not release any new material. Brother J assembled a new crew that he calls X-Clan Millennium Cipher and released a vinyl single for “The One/Blackwards Row” in 2004. Professor X died of complications from spinal meningitis on 17 March 2006.

A new X-Clan album, titled Return from Mecca (originally titled The Trinity), was released in 2007, featuring Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, RBX, KRS-One, and Jacoby Shaddix who is the lead vocalist of the rock band Papa Roach. Also, Tech N9ne is featured on a hidden bonus track titled “All I Want is Respect.” Brotha J has been holding it down for X-Clan and their fans by continuing to produce great music with the kind of message and knowledge that we need right now. Kudos Brotha J!

You can check out a few of my favorite X-Clan joints in the Jukebox today along with some Talib Kweli, Dialated Peoples, and Ceelo. Ya feel me?

You can get with X-Clan by visiting their website