Brother J of X-Clan
R.I.P. Professor X: August 4, 1956 – March 17, 2006

xclan-1.jpgLumumba “Professor X” Carson passed away from spinal meningitis on March 17, 2006. It was a loss felt throughout hip-hop. As a member of the pioneering group X-Clan — along with Brother J, Sugar Shaft and Paradise the Architect — Professor X left his mark on hip-hop as an artist and activist. X-Clan was the group corporate America didn’t want you to hear. They promoted Black pride, unity and self-awareness. Their work — 1990’s To The East, Blackwards, and 1992’s Xodus — were hard-hitting albums that addressed political and social issues with the goal of uplifting inner city youth. They instilled pride and social awareness. They wore African medallions and the colors of Black Nationalism — red, black and green —influencing artists such as dead prez. But to their credit, X-Clan wasn’t overbearing or preachy. Professor X, thanks to his catch phrases — “vanglorious” and “sissy!!” — provided a balance by delivering the group’s message while also having fun. While Public Enemy garnered most of the mainstream attention, X-Clan was just as influential. The group, however, disbanded after their second album.

Professor X was the son of legendary activist Sonny Carson. Therefore, it came as no surprise that X continued to make an impact on the community even after X-Clan broke up. Through his organization, Blackwatch Movement, which was formed in the 80’s, Professor X followed in his fathers’ footsteps by promoting social awareness and community activism. He continued to work with his Blackwatch Movement up until his death. But the foundation that Professor X laid will never be forgotten. On the one-year anniversary of his passing, and X-Clan’s Brother J pay tribute to a hip-hop legend. Brother J discusses the past, present and future of Professor X’s Blackwatch Movement, as well as his influence on an entire generation of hip-hop fans.

Can you explain the values behind Professor X’s Blackwatch Movement?
Well, Professor X founded it and we have been apart of Blackwatch since about ’87 or ’88. Blackwatch was [intended] for people to experience Black Nationalist values in hip-hop music. And Black Nationalist values means improving the inner cities. When we were living in Brooklyn, we spoke about where we were living and speaking for the people we were raised around. As our message became more mature, we encouraged people of all ethnicities to step forward and represent their culture for freedom. I don’t want people to be scared of what I mean. It’s not a separatist terminology that I’m stating. It’s basically saying that we want to connect all the children of indigenous bloodlines that are here in the U.S. We want to start healing [them]. The pain is making them into drug addicts and addicts of violence and confrontation. There is hope for us to stop killing our neighbors and evolve gangs into movements like the Black Panthers. Blackwatch is an example of those movements and we’re taking examples of our eldership and putting them together so we can spark community development.

How are you pushing forward the Blackwatch agenda since Professor X passed?
Blackwatch is starting a petition of the people, gathering between 150,000 to 300,000 signatures, stating that we demand between two to three hours of conscious music to be played on the radio. And we’re going to bring our own sponsors because we don’t want any favors. It’s a business and we can’t ignore that. So the Blackwatch Movement is rallying the people to get a [radio] petition done in 2007. We can’t value one man [Professor X] above all things. But we can [continue] his intentions and values. If we are dissatisfied with the music we are receiving, then it’s time to step to the government and let them know we are forgetting about the people. It’s time for the media and the people that have been quiet to step up.

How did X-Clan originate?

It was hip-hop that brought us all together. Lumumba [Professor X] was managing hip-hop groups, Architect was working with the Latin Quarters as a talent manager and Sugar Shaft and I were DJs/MCs out of Brooklyn with a little substance on our tongue. Professor X’s eye on our talent helped us get into a position where Island Records saw the difference in our writings. We weren’t ego-tripping. We were speaking about things that were happening in the streets, such as drugs, the loss of eldership and things of that nature. It was a big risk for them [Island Records] to get involved.

professorx2.jpgRecord labels were scared to sign X-Clan?
Yeah, but Island Records wasn’t scared. They had no fear of doing something different with black music. But on a regular label there was a lot of doubt about how to market a group [like us]. We are the black experience. We weren’t coming out with flat tops and the dance of the week. So it’s the same battle we are facing now, between pop music and conscious music. But the fans of X-Clan were partying and stepping to our music [as well]. We never had preachy conscious music that people had to stop and say, “Let’s sit down, start to pray and listen to X-Clan.” It wasn’t like that.

It’s been a year since Professor X passed away…
Almost a year ago to the day. He passed away from spinal meningitis on March 17, 2006. So it’s deep for us to be touring with Public Enemy right now in the month of our brother’s passing.

He was definitely an innovator and set his mark…
He was definitely a great ringmaster for what we were doing. He introduced conscious groups and new terminology. He was the original slang editorial. The “vanglorious” and “sissy” terminology has always filled the hearts of our fans and supporters. He was a serious mentor to me. But I didn’t like how the “sissy’ thing got out of control and become competition to [Flavor Flav’s] “yeah boyee!” I was more into Blackwatch and reforming that with him in his later days. But with his passing, he gave the baton to me for the direction of Blackwatch.

Check out some classic cuts from X-Clan below.

“Funkin’ Lesson” To The East, Blackwards (1990)

“Raise The Flag” To The East, Blackwards (1990)

“Fire & Earth” (1991)

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Sam


  • Maseo

    Thank you. I loved X-Clan as a shorty. Balance in hip-hop, we don’t all hug the block and pimp hoes.

  • Rodjilius

    how yall gonna say somebody died the day after u posted the thing

    Brother J of X-Clan
    R.I.P. Professor X: August 4, 1956 – March 17, 2006

  • Big Kev

    To Rodjilius:
    Hey it says 2006 not 2007!!!
    Learn about the culture or read carefully!

  • DJ Andy Warhol

    This is what we need, a hip hop revolution of great proportions! Is this the same writer who used to rock out for the source? If it is, I’m glad to see he’s still around. And the video is like the candle on the cake. Professor X and X Clan Live On!!! Like they say you have to know your past before you know your future!

  • Supreemwun

    I remember opening up for X-Clan back in the day, when they were at the top of their game. It was truly an honor. X-Clan was different a breath of fresh air…thought provoking…Hip Hop needs more conscious music to stir up the soul again. Don’t get it twisted all genres of Hip Hop are needed but I miss that feelin’ we use to get playing X-Clan, Public Enemy, Native Tongue…etc.

  • jojochicago

    I love this group! they were the shit and Brother J as a lyricist needs some of the respect when they talk all time! Their music was funky as hell and what can u say…….Sissy’s!

  • noz

    this is a good look. is protected by the red, the black and the green.

  • Dj DWD


  • @ssy m@gee

    to me, x-clan was the illest group hip hop had to offer…its sad to know that this article will be slept on by these young knuckle heads to hear the newest mixtape song from young jeezy

  • lake


  • Do I No Me?


  • http://yourmum milske

    RIP brother J. we miss you

  • derfla the hus’la


  • illasscrilla

    With the watered down state of hip hop of what it is today, all that 50 gunit b.s. and the videos we see where all they promote that generic rap b.s. I FEEL that if they were sending out the same music today as back then, I feel 2many peoples especially todays youth wouldnt even be trying to hear hip hip/rap on a higher level of knowledge. BET MTV sure wouldnt put it on, and it wouldnt appeal to the youths with the 50cent corporate sponsored ignorance our children infatuate themselves with daily. 1990 was different, the whole early 90′s pro-black self awareness that was expressed then has been drowned out of todays equasion. Remember when all that rappers (not all but alot) were rockin koofi’s and all the vibrant colors, back when malcolm X the movie came out. So with all do respect to X Clan, rest In Peace to a voice that in todays views I wonder who’d still want to listen if it didnt have cristal, strippers , and rented luxury rides…. RIP Brother J, but especially RIP hip hop, u heard nas this s*it is dead

  • Hip Hop since 79′


  • Big Wise

    I have a lot of respect for this group. Brother J and and professor x made a lot of Black youth pay attention. They sparked alot of thought. Brother J was like that.


    X Clan. I was 11 at a block party in Brooklyn and a fight broke out. They threw on X Clan and dudes chilled the fuck out. I never seen a record squash beef before.
    PE got people hype.
    X clan would chill a mofo out.

    True Story

  • - OZ –

    i found YOUNG BUCK’s album ‘Buck Tha World’ Retail on

    i dont so serious :S

    i thought everybody wanna know dat….


  • pierre

    we need to bring balance to the game the movement is now epicenter ent peace



  • Swizzy

    Its sad tho bcuz the very same things these men were rapping about and trying to teach to the youth…nothing has been taught bcuz the shits styll happening society is styll gettin stronger and stronger and our race is styll getting weaker and weaker …all u fuckers just listen to it and think its a good song but take it as a message to change something in your life …Fuck ya’ll.. sissy’s

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Co-sing JojoChicago

    Brother J used to ride those beats .. that muthafucka had some lyrics!

  • http://my luis beats


  • spitzwel

    u r truly missed in these times of “iggnantniggamusic” ur message voice spirit and legacy lasts im from pa man jus the woods but i was raised on verbalmilk. peace.

  • DJ Andy Warhol

    Don’t get it twisted y’all, Brother J is still here, it was the 1 year anniversary of Professor X’s passing. R.I.P.


  • Over Seer Chicago Black watch

    The Black Watch movement is alive in Chicago. To Black Watch members everywhere Freedom or Death! We must unite and continue the struggle

  • Naazo1

    That’s me on the left “Brown Sugar”