Despite his extreme Five-Percent Nation (of Islam) militancy, this dynamic young Afrocentrist — ably produced by DJ Mark the 45 King (Queen Latifah, etc.) — takes surprisingly little advantage of his first vinyl platform, spending nearly the entire record on crisply delivered but politically insignificant boasts and messages about the importance of knowledge. The Newark, New Jersey native does drop a little obscure racial science here and there, praising Allah and namechecking Minister Farrakhan, but the album is hardly likely to send moderates running for the hills.
On the other hand, The Lost Tribe is largely given over to critical analyses of African-American oppression and discourses on Five-Percent history and religious theory. Ignoring the ethical contradictions in such tracks as the rational “Need Some Lovin'” and the violently uncharitable “When You See a Devil Smash Him,” Shabazz — author of a most untypical rap to “Ladies” — seems like a serious young professor who hasn’t quite mastered his lessons.