Brother J (X-Clan) - conducted by General Baker  

Brother J of X-Clan

October 2006

MVRemix: I understand. What for you, and not to harp on this particular thing, but I just think people would be curious to know, were there specific things that happened to you that facilitated a shift from the X-Clan focus to what you just said there about that, there are structures, racism included, but there's other things that are happening that allows me to kind of have a more encompassing focus; a larger focus, were there specific things that happened in your life that kinda changed that?

Brother J: Well I know what your vibing there, man, everybody thinks that, you know, that X-Clan broke up because of internal problems or whatever case may be and, you know, there's a thing about growth, you know what I'm saying, the mold of X-Clan, I wanted to expand it further, you know what I'm saying, and now with the group that started with just myself and Shaft there were other elements included, you know what I'm saying, and you know, it's a thing of when the baton passes, you know, from eldership to the next generation there's a little struggle before the baton is released, you know what I'm saying, and this is real because I want people to understand X-Clan was a real family, like you go home and you go see your mom and you go see your brothers and so on, we were real family like that and we go through changes, you know what I'm saying. We weren't perfect, you know what I'm saying, so we had creative differences and stuff like that, you know what I'm saying, where it would hinder us in the future if we didn't start to adjust as the arrow was changing, you know what I'm saying. We can't sample no more. We gotta practice instruments, and start dealing equipment and stop wasting money on things, you know what I'm saying, that are taking us away from our focus. Now, you look at the Black Watch movement, if you don't have an institution set up for a movement it can be a draining cost, you know especially if people come around as groupies of music instead of coming as soldiers and that started to become a problem.

Now the reason I'm addressing this is because you see why the Dark Sun Riders, where I stayed away from a lot of things like those issues. I stayed more on the spiritual food level rather than addressing issues of movement or issues of police brutality and so on and so on, I issue more on just conscious thought and not metaphysical and all these other things that are categories of thought nowadays or thought processes, but I wanted to focus on just energizing the soldier. What does the soldier listen to when they meditate? What does the soldier listen to when they hibernate for a minute and get away from the common world? That's the kind of music I wanted to create just for a moment to dive into a different side of my creativity. Because, everyone's, you know, always used to me in the battlefield, you know what I'm saying, their outrage is coming fresh off the Brooklyn Bridge, you know, with the Yusef Hawkins thing (a black teenager murdered in 1989 while walking through Bensonhurst, an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn) and you know, you know just different things like that that we were creating due to current events.

My thing was, what is a soldier like in the temple? You know what I'm saying, I wanted to share that, I wanted to share as I was embarking on learning new people and finding new parts of the [] that were going to help me to transmit this message coming close to the new millennium, so that was a big issue. You know, the technology rift between elder and youth is a issue, you know, abduction through internet is a issue. These are things that the 1960s or even the early ‘90s couldn't address.

So I as a messenger had to get prepared to do that. I can't get prepared doing that competing against the new wave of pop-thug music. There's two different focuses now because if I'm focusing to keep the label happy that takes me off my focus of learning what the streets is about because the two don't mix. If you look at hip-hop today, the two don't mix. What keeps you hot in the record label is not necessarily what the streets need. The streets don't need more material telling them, "Get rich or die tryin'," "Smack some booty up before you go to bed and drink some Hennessey." We don't need that. The youth don't need to hear that on a regular basis. Now, you can tell an adult that and they can handle that, but if you program that music at a BPM like that to transmit that message and that's all they're getting everyday, that's all their goals are gonna be, man, they don't know shit else. You know what I'm saying?

So these things were happening at that timeframe. Now, as a young man, that's bugged out for a young man to be thinking about shit like that, but I'm conditioned for this, brother, you know what I'm saying? I try to get—this is not like ‘J was a good rapper' and got put on board. The creator had a deep hand in bringing all of the elements of the first generation of X-Clan together. I wanted to make sure that if the power was given to me, I wanted to mold an X-Clan that people would be proud of in this day and era. I don't wanna bring, I don't wanna bring a bunch of rappers to get behind me and start yelling about, "Get right and get righteous." I wanna build a institution or school and be able to put every member of the Clan in a classroom to get ready to discuss building. That's what I'm presenting to the people when I present this millennium cipher. When they see X-Clan, they say millennium cipher; the first generation of X-Clan to building the Dark Sun house which is my chamber. I was the water to build the chamber. And my thing was I want to give a chamber that allow artists of every element of, not only hip-hop, every element of life to come in and refresh their knowledge. There's no place that we can sit down as people and say, "Let me build on what I know, and I don't want anybody to tell me if I'm right or wrong. I want somebody to fill in the gaps, not laugh at me if I don't know who Frederick Douglass is or who Martin Luther King is. I don't want nobody to look at me funny if I don't know that." You know what I'm saying?

MVRemix: So you wanna kind of separate the elitism that goes with more of the politically aware crowd, it seems like.

Brother J: Exactly because if you look at the competition and political think tanks, everybody tries to know more than the other. It is such a problem of debate and dialogue exchange that we lose focus of the true and living aspects that would end the struggle and we have to do something different to talk. You know what I'm saying? I want the music to reflect that.

So, if we're in the stage of time where the label is pounding us to sound better than everybody that's out—‘cause remember now we're part of a big machine. Island Records was a big machine. We have to, in order to continue to be down, we have to continue to be down with sales moving. So they don't care about movement issues and adjusting your mind and taking hiatus and that other shit. They want a album on the table. You know what I'm saying? This is business. Now, at this time as a spiritual man or a spiritual young man growing, I'm not caring for that. I'm like, "Well, if y'all are you want one person to rat race, I think this has to cease for a while." And, you know, if you're a group and you just kick the pillars out and you haven't told anybody how you feeling, then it could be bitter-feeling, of course. The people weren't giving us room in the era as well, brother. And to conclude on this point, the era changed because the people shifted.

>> continued...

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"I stayed more on the spiritual food level rather than addressing issues of movement or issues of police brutality and so on and so on, I issue more on just conscious thought..."