In 1999, Pharoahe Monch became one of the hottest "new artist" in the Hip-Hop scene, thanks in part to Rawkus Records and their army like promotion team. Shortly after Pharoahe Monch released his solo album, I reviewed it and basically broke down the flaws of the album that I saw. I found it to be totally incoherent. The album attempted to use to many different sounds and feels. The main flaw was that there was nothing sowing it all together. This was an amazing disappointment, because a long time ago, when Funk Master Flex didn't even know an emcee by the name of Pharoahe Monch existed, he was given much praise, respect, and love by underground fans and artists alike. Why? Well Pharoahe Monch and his former partner in rhyme Prince Poetry were on to something great with Organized Konfusion.
In 1994 Organized Konfusion released, their second and best album, "Stress: The Extinction Agenda". An amazing album from start to finish, but also an album that can be easily misunderstood by the listener. As the album's intro starts up you get a quick understanding for the album is about. As Pharoahe rambles "I'm so confused - I don't know what to do - I think I'm going insane," you come to an understanding that you are about to venture into a journey that will show the sick cruelty of human life and yet give you guiding words to show you a better life. Best of all it's a harsh and amazing ride.
From that point the album kicks right into "Stress", an infamous banger that stops halfway through so that Prince Poetry can off a Taxi driver. As the bullet shots spray Pharoahe jumps in and delivers some power lines that can still apply to today's state of Hip-Hop.
"You will now consider me the apocalyptic one / After this rhyme, henceforth, there is none / NO more will exist, when I emerge / From the mist in whence I was born into, scorned / Most of you can't even comprehend what I am saying / to you even in my human form the message I'm relaying / Why do you choose to mimic these wack MC's? / Why do you choose to listen to R&B? / Why must you believe somethin' is fat / Just because it's played on the radio, 20 times per day?" - Pharoahe Monch - "Stress"
Silence then falls on "Stress" and some all too familiar scratching commences, with that "The Extinction Agenda" begins. Prince Poetry starts this song off with an ill verse, but the torch once again shines on Pharoahe Monch as he rips one of my favorite verses. "Nightfall, I stop the rook, then I'm looking for / the original book which contains the words of God / Six hours until dawn, my quest to capture the queen / without being seen by the pawns / Call me Bishop, bishop takes rook, rook takes pawn / pawn takes knight, knight takes queen / Queen takes the original King James version" is just a small piece of the amazing verse that Pharoahe develops. But reading it can barely compliment the mastery delivery that only Pharoahe Monch could give it. As another amazing track comes to an end, you're given another treat. This time it's "Thirteen" a solo track by Pharoahe Monch. This track is also filled with memorable quotable lines that have been used by numerous artists, such as the Arsonists for example. As you reach this point of the record you've had nothing, but classic tracks and it sure as hell doesn't end here.
At this point of the record you also notice the negativity of the lyrics. While this may lead some heads to criticize Organized Konfusion, they'll soon understand what all this is about. The next track "Black Sunday" is a step back in pace from everything you've heard so far. It's a lot more relaxed that most of the other songs on this album, and it has both a Pharoahe Monch and Prince Poetry straight preaching knowledge. Pharoahe Monch drops some heartfelt lines at the beginning of the song, and Prince Poetry follows it up
with some more powerful lines.
"Yeah, remember losing a loved one, lawwwd help us to make it over / Delete the pork cigarettes and forty-nine cent soda / We came a long way and I'm still runnin for my freedom / Still have one hundred miles to go, escape from the / crack villllles, so, you can feed that baby / I used to ride the elevator with the crazy lady / I year later I made demo cassettes with the Monch" - Prince Poetry - "Black Sunday"
With the closing of another terrific track, you're lead into a hype interlude, which does little to prepare for the upcoming lyrical assault. "Bring It On" is an hyper anthem and it's set on fire right from the start by one of most gifted lyricist around.
"I even be gettin more graphic than an Neo Geo / Thirty-two bit computer chip be slipped between my lips / and then I'll spit / Spit it out spit it out go ahead spit out / that itty bitty style you upchuck / Betta believe I buttfuck MC's from the rear it appears you're stuck up / It's my terminology that strike up mind and rips this beat apart / You know the many styles I choose will bruise crews from the start / I flow awkwardly cause awkwardly I flow that's to the rhythm / Incisions are made into the brain and then I begin to give em a lobotomy, follow me I'm shapin your brain.. like.. pottery / all over the track / Gimme the P-H gimme the A-R gimme the O-A gimme the H-E, Pharoahe / Crazy poison tip arrows are hittin you from all directions / You cannot dodge or manage to dislodge them from the point at / which they are connecting" - Pharoahe Monch - "Bring It On"
Once again I have to stress that simply reading his verse can barely do it justice. The song continues on to be one the more energetic tracks from the album. "Why" is another heartfelt track that has Pharoahe Monch telling a story about him slowly losing someone he loved. "Let's Organize" is an upbeat joint which features Q-Tip, and brings it back to the days when albums weren't filled with numerous and pointless guest appearances. Skipping ahead a few tracks you have a very important track, "Stray Bullet". This song helps Organized Konfusion once again showcase Pharoahe Monch's incredible skill. He
rips his verse through the perspective of a bullet. Sound familiar? Where do you think Mr. Escobar got the idea? Pharoahe rips the track into pieces as he comes flying out of the barrel of a gun and begins to ricochet of everything from park walls to the skull of an unsuspecting child.
"Let the trigger finger put the pressure to the mechanism / Which gives a response, for the automatic *bang* / Clip to release projectiles in single / file forcing me to ignite then travel / through the barrel, headed for the light / At the end of a tunnel, with no specific target in sight / Slow the flow like H2O water / Visualize, the scene of a homicide, a slaughter / No remorse for the course I take when you pull it /The result's a stray bullet" - Pharoahe Monch - "Stray Bullet"
As the albums rolls to a smooth ending you understand the amount of substance that it truly contains. It gets ghostly dark and shows you how negative our society can be, but at the same time it shows you the light, and brings hope for the future. A lot of heads criticized me for my opinions on Pharoahe Monch's album "Internal Affairs". Yet, the truth is that this album does everything that "Internal Affairs" tried to. It shows you darkness and also gives you the truth. It gives you hype grimy tracks and gives you
relaxing upbeat anthems. Yet it does all this and keeps a coherent theme through out the entire project, something that can't be achieved all too easily.