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X CLAN (Buy CDs by this artist)
To the East, Blackwards (4th & B'way) 1990

Threatening but never delivering a heavyweight political message, this deeply Afrocentric Brooklyn group — a conceptual attempt to cross Marcus Garvey with George Clinton — parks entertainment on the back burner to make vague statements about history and culture with impressively crisp professorial diction. Evidently better able to express their esoteric views in interview format, X Clan couches its debut album in meaningless argot (calling their efforts "vanglorious" instead of rap, and referring to any dissenter as "sissee"), repeatedly making reference to Africa without any clear point. Typical of the quartet's semi-hollow posturing, Professor X announces "Vanglorious: This is protected by the red, the black and the green" in a ponderous theatrical voice at least a dozen times throughout the record. That's a message?

[Ira Robbins]