X CLAN’S “To the East Blackwards” turns 30.

X Clan, originating from Brooklyn, New York brought the concept of Black Nationalism into the forefront of the minds of hip hop youth using the community activist ideologies of Sonny Carson mobilized by the Blackwatch Movement. The Blackwatch Movement was founded by Professor X the Overseer as a means to spread Black nationalism ideals to urban youth by infusing pro black imagery and ideologies within hip hop music and culture. In 1990, X Clan’s debut album “To The East Blackwards” charted at #97 on the top 100 charts and is widely considered to be one of the most influential hip hop albums ever released. Thirty years after it’s original release, the messages and words of the mighty X Clan still hold true today.

The debut album from X Clan “To The East Blackwards” charted at #97 on the top 100 charts and is widely considered to be one of the most influential hip hop albums ever released.

Freedom or death? We shall all be moved! Vainglorious! This is protected by the Red, the Black and the Green with a KEY Sissyyyy!

Professor X

If you come from where I’m from or come from the era in hip hop from which I have came then at one point in time these words of Lumumba Carson aka The Legendary PXO aka Professor X of the almighty X Clan are somewhere permanently imprinted within your psyche.

I grew up listening to X Clan. I recall a time when I was 9 years old in the basement of my Aunt Virls house with my older cousins Tony, Mike and Ed watching music videos when my cousin Mike asked my cousin Tony who he thought the best rap group out was? Tony emphatically replied “man X-Clan the best”. At that very moment X Clan’s “Funkin Lesson” appeared on the tv screen.

X Clan had the funk! The samples used by Sugar Shaft to craft the soundscape for the black psychedelic, pink Cadillac ride through triple stage darkness were a magnificent compliment to the Grand verbalizing rap flow of “Mr Funkin Lesson” Brother J. On “Funkin Lesson”, after the beat dropped and Brother J said the word “Abracadabra!”, I was all in for the ride and the ride was a Black magical ride managed by both Professor X and Paradise the Architect.

X Clan was an institution. The greatest aspect of their music for most was the immense knowledge dropped in every song. Never wasting a word Brother J combined the knowledge and style of Rakim with a Big Daddy Kane pimp type smoothness. The sound that Brother J and the X Clan birthed was refreshing to the ear and a breath of fresh air for a commercially crowded rap industry.

By todays terminology and standards X Clan was woke! X Clan was more than woke, they were the absolute architects behind the design of what it means to be woke. X Clan was the awakening for many urban youth who were drowning and dying in a gangster rap cesspool in the late eighties and early nineties. Their music and movement provided the youth with a backdrop to build upon with dignity and self respect. Regular, everyday, commercially branded rap music was the call of the day and X Clan was the antithesis. Here to save us all.

Concepts such s knowledge of self, healthy eating, black empowerment, community engagement, self sufficiency, Universal 5% teachings and the truth that all life originates from the continent of Asia aka Africa that are NOW being put forth as a New narrative in popular culture have always been a basis of what the X Clan is, what and forever shall be.

Although X Clan is never mentioned as one of hip hop’s elite groups by the mainstream. In the minds and hearts of the true people they will always be the greatest. For advancing the minds of youth in America in the nineties as well as pushing the cultural narrative of freedom, justice and equality for all Africans they were revolutionary. For the overall masses the messages of the X Clan were a hard pill to swallow. However they stood unapologetically black in their stance and commitments to the people and would rather watch their foes choke than to fold. Salute to “To The East Blackwards” for holding us down over the course of a generation.

And as far as all of you newly awakened “WOKE” folks . In the words of the Almighty, Legendary Professor X of the original X Clan “Step off!”


Author: Armstrong Ransome

I break bread, ribs and hundred dollar bills.

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