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Interview: X-Clan
Monday, December 18, 2006
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T: Just for all the readers and the young heads that may not know the track record, just update them on the recording history.
BJ: X-Clan released To the East Blackwards and Xodous. When I left the Clan I did a production project called The Dark Sun Riders. Dark Sun Riders is a development household. I put together a league of emcees that talked about balances. When these elders come and give us these lessons, we are the lyricists to give that knowledge out. So, that’s just part of the house. And X-Clan is music about your roots. Whatever culture and walk you are in life, you have some kind of history. And we want to help you to get there and come to the table. Then, you can hold my hand as a human being once you know who the fuck you are. But if you have no knowledge of self and you're just here wandering, you can’t hold my hand as a soldier or stand by me as a soldier if there’s trouble, you can’t. If I come to you and I don’t have knowledge of self, I don’t know how I could fight, I don’t know how to stand here to defend you, I don’t even know how loyal I can be to you if somebody offers me a dollar. But if I have knowledge of self, I could say to you, I don’t have any weaknesses, ain't no woman or money coming between us, I’m a solid soldier. How many cats do you know like that? And if you don’t know cats like that, get the fuck out of the bad company that you’re keeping because it’s negative. That’s my word, we ain't got no time to be hanging with suckers, homie. I love to come and do X-Clan shows with a sucker-free environment.

T: Talk about Sugar Shaft and Professor X as far as what they meant to the group and to the world.
BJ: Without Sugar Shaft, I wouldn’t be here. Sugar Shaft made reference to the Architect to get me a demo done. And I was a humble motherfucker. I paid my dues, I just didn’t get up on the mic and start rappin'. I was at Black Watch for many years, homie. As far as dealing with my music, being with Black Watch and X-Clan, we don’t follow men like robots. We respect a speaker of the house, there’s a protocol to living. So instead of going to work everyday to suck somebody’s ass for a 9-5, I come to salute my brother and say I’m offering better of me, as you’re offering me better of you. I am my brother’s keeper.

T: So, what’s the name of the new project?
BJ: The new project is Return From Mecca. The title of the album reflects the refinement of man. Everybody want to know what I been doing, what my hiatus has been all about. I’m giving it to you on the album. I’m giving you a song with Damian Marley, I’m giving you a song with KRS-One, I’m giving you a song with Charlie Tola and some the phenoms that I respect on the scene. These are the types of artists that I fuck with. When they pick up our mixtape, Underground Scrolls, they going to hear spitters on there that I fuck with. They are going to hear Dark Sun Riders. I got YZ spittin' on the album. He’s a conscious artist that I would love to bring back to the press. He still got it. He’s still hungry.

T: How do you feel about the industry shift from Revolutionary to Gangsta?
BJ: I don’t think it shifted to the gangsta. I just think it shifted to a heavier corporate position and the corporations that decided what’s easiest to buy. Girls Gone Wild sells better than a Malcolm X book. So, there’s no question that a million motherfuckers would want to get drunk and get in front of the stage, see some titties and shit. It’s millions of motherfuckers like that, that won’t let go. It’s not too many people who want to sit down and meditate, take time and say, what the hell am I doing here? We're not trying to say stop the party, ain't nobody stopping no party. But if you ain't here to focus motherfucker, you're going to be in prison, you're going to be out here with no job, and you going to be wandering, and when you go to the club you're going to be broke. You got to learn how to be a man; you got to learn how to be a woman. This is basic street knowledge that you have to give to the people.

T: Right now, I feel like the game is over saturated with violence. It’s definitely having a negative effect. What can people do to preserve the culture?
BJ: I would tell every lyricist to write a song that they would say in front of their momma or their seed. And really check where you’re disrespecting the generation. The game will start to change from there.

T: Who are some of the producers you worked with on Return From Mecca?
BJ: I worked with DJ Khalil, who has done work with G-Unit, I worked with J-Gwan, I worked with DJ Fat Jack, one of the original producers out of the Los Angeles underground. He's my new DJ, my new rhythm provider now. So, I’m happy to have somebody, a veteran with some history to come and join our thing. I got production with DJ Quik. We finally got a chance to do record. People don’t know we use to stay together back in the days. So, for us to come together and do a track, it was after the talk for hours more than anything, but we got down to business. But it was so easy, it was done in a day, and on the project. Who else do I have on there? A lot of different cats, brother. I focus on production because conscious artist usually come out and have bullshit production and a lot to say. And that’s something that has bored the people. I don’t want to preach at yall. I want the strip clubs dancing to my shit, I want the clubs dancing to my shit, and I want the streets dancing to my shit. We seek knowledge for the enhancement. I’m not against motherfuckers going down, but there’s a time and place for everything. And we are doing overtime on the dumb shit.

T: How did growing up in Brooklyn have an impact on you're living and outlook? Because people around the world view Brooklyn as a crazy place.
BJ: Brooklyn gave me an edge that can’t be fucked with. It's just the swagger that everybody in the world knows. Hey, you're from New York right? That’s in my lyrics. I tell people a story from the melting pot of poetry. I know Jews and Arabs who have businesses together in New York. It’s a melting pot, everybody can hustle here. That’s why I call New York, Chemical Egypt. Everybody come here to learn how to hustle, how to win in the world. Everybody in the world used to go to Egypt to learn and to build. All of your greatest teachers and leaders in the world have come through. New York is the Mecca and it’s the beginning of where Hip-Hop began. So, I’m a representative of the original cradle of Hip-Hop. That’s how I build. I don’t see it no other way. I never have.

T: So, X-Clan Millennium Cypher, what’s that all about?
BJ: Millennium means, I can’t say it means under new management, it just means that the circle has increased and evolved. It’s the second generation of us. We have the cipher to handle millennium issues. The internet and young heads, there’s an issue. When you got old men seducing the young through this (internet) there is a problem. There is a problem with wisdom and attention deficit. You can’t say shit to the next generation about passing on science. We can’t even pass on Hip-Hop correctly. They make their own shit. The sub-cultures of Hip-Hop are killing the game. So, if I say you have to go to learn from history, Kool Herc, and then go to the jazz greats, and run all the way back to the future, they say, man, fuck that, I’m going create my own shit. I’m going to create this Trip-Hop shit, create my own weapon and separate myself from the game. That is happening everywhere, homie. Do you know how much I’m learning on these tours about little sub-cultures of Hip-Hop? The major cities have the big tours, but the small towns, they're not accepting the culture like that. They don’t have twenty mixtapes sitting on their shelf saying, who’s the baddest emcee or not. They make the rules. You got a bunch of Lord of the Fly motherfuckers running the game in their region. So, when you got to do a show in their town and you don’t speak their language, you ain't getting no dough, period. So, that’s why these artists are stuck in New York, or stuck in Detroit, or stuck in Atlanta and can’t get out. Why? Because that Chitlin Circuit we are suppose to be creating doesn’t exist. But for the white artists, it exists. You go on a white Hip-Hop band tour, there is a channel and circuit that is created for them wide open. And I’m telling you the truth. And I don’t have a racism problem. I’m just telling you the truth. When I tour with Damian Marley it’s 85% white people. And when I tour with Jurrasic 5 it’s 85% white people. Why? Because your label is saying black people don’t buy records and black people don’t go to concerts. So, if I advertise in your area they feel like they know better, so they're not going buy your damn ticket anyway. That has created the separatism in Hip-Hop. That stereotype; I want to break that stereotype. You know good and well when X-Clan come to town a million black people are coming out to see us, homie. A million cultured people are now coming out because they now understand that X-Clan wasn’t just about white or black. It’s about, hey, intelligent being come and get some of this food and go and teach it to the world. We put ourselves as that type of cipher now. They're learning new members of the crew. These are all teachers. These are not just brothers who say, I’m down to stand behind you while you rap. These are brothers who have been teaching in schools for twenty to thirty years. They have taught street soldiers and self-defense, and multi-media, and music production, and sciences. So, I’m offering that as the focus of my group.

T: As far artists getting global exposure, the internet has really leveled the playing field. Do you use the internet as a big resource to promote what you’re doing?
BJ: I’m in tune with technology. I know that the internet is a great way to reach people and what not, but we want to encourage people to come out. And when I come out to a show, I don’t want you to click on, and say, I couldn’t come out to the show because I was at home on Myspace all day. We want people to come out and sweat with us, come out and feel this experience of Hip-Hop. We do a full culture show. You have been to our show, brother! We give them culture and experience.

T: So what’s the one thing the people need to know about Brother J and X-Clan as far what ya’ll are doing now?
BJ: They need to know that this music that we give them is research. It’s not for you to take and follow. We don’t want followers. Take this math and say, “fuck you Brother J”, I’m going to go look that up, I don’t believe that. Go find that shit and come back and let’s build. Then when you come up to me with a conversation don’t come up asking me, “how many earrings do I have in my nose”. Ask me, ”yo, man you said something in your verse, I learned something. Let me give you something." I’d rather them do that. That way it’s a consistent exchange of the audience member and the artist. It’s not just like I’m talking at you all the time, this is on my album, and this is on my album. I want them to come back and teach me something I didn’t know. I want to show them that they are important as well. And once they see that, they will see that the power is truly with the people. People say that shit all the time, “power to the people," but they don’t practice it. I’m willing to walk the dog. I’m willing to walk the dog with the world. Even if they don’t like my fucking material, respect me as a man. We want to do something different. That’s what I tell my audience.

T: So what’s next for X-Clan?
BJ: We are going to be busy. The album will be dropping. It’s going to be out there. No more mysteries. What the fuck does Brother J sound like? We even gave them the mixtape so if there’s any question here, check it for yourselves. That’s what the vibe was with that. I didn’t want to get in the loop of the mixtape shit. I just said, people have questions of what I sound like after twelve years or seven years or whatever it’s been. I lost track of time. I’ve been creating. They are going to see a wealth of material coming from me. I have not been sitting on my ass. I tell cats right now to step up the writing or they can excuse themselves from the game. Because they are going to sound stupid in a minute, homie. I bullshit you not. That’s my word!

T: So what’s the website where they can check for you online at?
BJ:
www.xclanmusic.com , is the name of our website. They can also check us out www.myspace.com/xclanmusic




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