On the strength of the popularity of Public Enemy and BDP, the late 80’s and early 90’s saw a sudden abundance of artists categorised by the media as ‘pro-Black’, ‘political’ and ‘conscious’ hip hop. X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, YZ, Lakim Shabazz etc all achieved critical and commercial success (however fleeting) by combining 5% Nation teachings with seriously fly production that ensured their records would still get plenty of spins on the radio and in clubs. However, for every classic Brand Nubian and Paris record there were a dozen overly preachy, poorly-produced imitators, most of which have now become the scourge of second-hand record stores.
Consequently, it was with trepidation that I approached Movement Ex’s sole self-titled long player (released in 1990 on Columbia Records) on a recent record-shopping spree. The blurry cover-art featuring the LA duo of MC Lord Mustafa Hasan and DJ King Born Khaaliq standing behind the podium in front of an empty (!) congregation did not exactly promise great things.
To my surprise however, while this album is no classic it’s also far from wack. Lyrically, Lord Mustafa Hasan drops well-articulated Afrocentric science without coming off preachy. Musically, the album is not quite so impressive. Forgettable production by Sir Randall Scott on tracks such as ‘KK Punani’ and ‘Get Up Off the Pipe’ had me zoning out from Hasan’s vocals.
When the beats are good, though, Movement Ex are capable of great things. ‘I Deal With Mathematics’ and ‘The Lord Speaks His Mind’, by far the best two songs on the record, feature buttery low-key production courtesy of Randall Scott that works perfectly with Hasan’s flow. DJ King Born Khaaliq also gets ample time to display his excellent cutting skills, which stand up amazingly well fifteen years after the record’s release.
I’m not generally an advocate of buying albums for a handful of songs, but considering you can pick this one up for the spare change you were probably about to buy a bacon sandwich with, I’m gonna make an exception here. Three pairs of panties out of five. Polarity
I’m not generally an advocate of buying albums for a handful of songs, but considering you can pick this one up for the spare change you were probably about to buy a bacon sandwich with, I’m gonna make an exception here. Three pairs of panties out of five.