We all remember the Organized Konfusion days, but it was just a few months ago when Pharoahe Monch blessed us on two amazing tracks from Rawkus' critically acclaimed Soundbombing 2 compilation. After hearing these tracks, newer fans also began anticipating Pharoahe Monch's solo album. Now just about a half a year later, Pharoahe Monch has erased all his previous work and comes back as street talking emcee that tells life the way he sees it. One of the album's main aspects is that it has several different themes. The album is split between violence, elevation, and some bounce hype tracks. Does this technique work? Judge for yourself.
The album opens as any Hip-Hop fan would want it to, Pharoahe states the way the music industry should be "You might never return to the shit you hear on the radio" and "all wackness is now banned / Obtain access through retina scans". The album moves on to "Behind Closed Doors", which happens to be the b-side to Pharoahe's hit single "Simon Says". In this self-produced track Pharoahe drops nice lines such as "An animal that stings / I'm like a bat with blood coming out the wings / You should never in your wildest dreams, shit on a nigga who resides in the borough of Queens". Overall an excellent track, but one that shines even more is "Rape". In this haunting track Pharoahe vividly describes himself raping a song. The beat and Pharoahe's excellent lyrical ability make this track a sure winner. This track is just one of the aspects of this album, but there are many more to "Internal Affairs".
As you get deeper in the album, on you have tracks like "Official", "The Next Shit" featuring Busta Rhymes, and the "Simon Says Remix". Tracks like these are sure crossover joints, and represent the more commercial aspect of the album. It's quite obvious that Pharoahe Monch isn't too satisfied being an underground legend and wants a platinum plaque to show for his lyrical skill. These tracks aren't necessarily bad as some demanding fans might make them out to be. Both "Official" and "The Next Shit" are excellent and are much better than any of the other club friendly songs out now. Of these more commercial joints the only one that really disappoints is the "Simon Says Remix". The lyrics are on point, but at over 6 minutes in length it can be just too much. Lady Luck and Shabaam Sahdeeq, who both don't really impress anyone, should have been removed from the track. This is the only aspect of this album that might hold it down for some fans. It's definitely, not what you learned to expect from Organized Konfusion, but this isn't an Organized Konfusion album.
While there are a fair amount of commercial geared songs on this album, you shouldn't think that Pharoahe doesn't have anything else to deliver to you. Pharoahe Monch also delivers a handful of heartfelt tracks. "Queens" and "The Truth" featuring Common and Talib Kweli are just a two of them. On "The Truth" all emcees drop knowledge on the flaws of human kind. The mellow beats and sincerity in their voices will have even the most carefree person feeling their message. In this aspect of the album, it seems that Pharoahe Monch hasn't changed as much as he had shown earlier in the album.
In conclusion, Pharoahe Monch attempts to deliver an album that shows how he feels about society. He delivers dark haunting tracks like "Rape" and "No Mercy" which show the constant glorification of violence by our society. He also has tracks like "Queens" and "The Truth", which show the need for us to elevate our society. He then brings it all together with club friendly tracks such as the smash hit "Simon Says" and the soon to be club hit "The Next Shit". This album brings something for everyone, it attempts to and should please both Organized Konfusion fans and new radio listening fans. Its main flaw however lies in the arrangement of the songs. It moves from semi-violent songs like "Behind Closed Doors" and "Rape", to a chunk of bouncy, friendly songs, and finally to more spiritual songs. It would have been much more enjoyable if it had been arranged with more even distribution. As much of a solid release as this may be, it will unfortunately not be remembered much in the career of Pharoahe Monch, as it will in that of Rawkus Records. This record marks a possible new direction for Rawkus. One that attempts to keep an underground image, but at the same time drop songs that attempt to catch good radio rotation. Good or bad, only time will tell.