"Inner Visions" Rawkus/Geffen
by Rawkus Records
To have Pharoahe Monch's reputation precede him would be a
discredit to his long-standing body of creative achievement.
Pharoahe Monch's legend precedes him like few lyricists committing
words to wax in hip-hop today. After eight years as half of
one of rap music's most revered and enduring underground duos,
Organized Konfusion, and contributing two highlights ('WWIII'
and 'Mayor') to 1999's acclaimed 'official mix tape', Soundbombimg
II, the mighty Monch now delivers his inaugural solo album,
Internal Affairs, on hip-hop skilltrade haven, Rawkus Records.
Featuring guest appearances by an all-star cast of vocal luminaries
-- Busta Rhymes, Canibus, M.O.P., Common and Black Thought
of The Roots -- and production from esteemed boardsmen DJ
Premier, DJ Scratch, Diamond D, Baby Paul, Lee Stone and Pharoahe
himself, it has rapidly become one of the most anticipated
releases of the year.
remotely familiar with Organized Konfusion's much-lauded triumvirate
of albums --1991's self-titled debut, 1994's Stress: The Extinction
Agenda and 1997's The Equinox -- will readily attest to Monch
and partner Prince Poetry's penchant for sophisticated, relentlessly
expressive wordplay and grand, state-of-the-art production.
While Internal Affairs never strays far from this provocative
musical foundation, the album also provides a personal narrative
line that, as indicated by the title, counts several emotional
stops amongst its varied travels.
kind of like the movie Good Will Hunting in terms of somebody
trying to probe into me personally,' Pharoahe explains of
the LP's concept. 'There's a big opening where I've been committed
for psychological evaluation and through the rest of the album
I'm letting the songs answer the questions that people are
asking me. That's how personal I want people to feel about
my project. It's an accumulation of all the knowledge and
feelings that I've experienced in the business for all these
years that I'm able to let out.'
first single, 'Simon Says', exemplifies this catharsis with
typical Monch fervor. Already garnering frequent spins on
New York City radio's nightly buzzmaking showcase, the Funkmaster
Flex Show, the song combines a party-generating command-and-response
style chorus and hypnotic horn stabs devoted to the passionate
pursuit of unadulterated pleasures. Studded with lines like,
'Ignorant minds, I free' em/ If you tired of the same ol'everyday
you will agree, um/ The most obligated, hard and R rated/
Slated to be the best, I must confess/The star made it,' it's
a rowdy club anthem with brain.
'Simon Says' ominous B-side , 'Behind Closed Doors', is a
moody piece that describes close encounters of a darker kind.
While warnings like, 'You should never in your wildest dreams/Shit
on a brother who resides in the borough of Queens,' set the
tone, the song's undercurrent of despair finds musical manifestation
in its arrangement of minor key pianos and clarinet swells.