Before we go in, let it be known Pharoahe Monch is a Hip Hop veteran that has not waivered through his career steppinâ€™ into the game with Organized Konfusion with fellow MC Prince Po and a solo classic â€œSimon Saysâ€. So if you call yourself a true hip hop head you know about the kid, but if you donâ€™t do ya frickinâ€™ homework google, wikipedia or something or whateverâ€¦(eh-hem clears throat) and now that thatâ€™s overâ€¦..Yooooooooooo! W.A.R. is that smelling salt that wakes you up after you got pummeled after an inside blitz from the blind side or after Debo done knocked you the frick out! lol Itâ€™s a â€œstraight through â€œcd, 1-13 and thatâ€™s my word. As hard as it may be Iâ€™m going to have narrow down some tracks because Iâ€™d be writing a War And Peace II novel reviewing each song. Monch’s W.A.R. is definitely a refresher to hip-hop and PM gives you that feel of that no holds barred hip-hop straight outta the NYC. Wordplay is kept and displayed at its highest form with this veteran and still elite MC. The kid’s flow still can become apart of the music as if his voice is an instrument and the freshest thing to mind for me is the only other MC that does that is Jay-Z. If you truly love hip-hop you’ll definitely appreciate W.A.R. I even mess with the intro â€œThe Warningâ€ featuring Idris Elba produced by Pharoahe Monch himself and thatâ€™s just Idris forewarning about the future so then Pharoahe follows up with â€œCalculated Amalgamationâ€ produced by Lion Share Music Group giving a taste of whatâ€™s to come with
â€œI was determined as damaged psychologically/ still managed to gain a new perspective on the term surround yourself with greatness/found myself standing in a room full of mirrors/and even my reflections disrespect you like a freshman during hazing/(what an amazing assessment)/the police booked me for book smarts but who the promoters book now/raised the bar so high that bars are afraid to look down.â€
If you need a reason to â€œEvolveâ€ produced by Exile provided
â€œYes, how many gorillas who actually killas really rhyminâ€™/artists that actually signed still killing/and when it comes to killing the mic/they not willing and Iâ€™m supposed to be shook/thatâ€™s the shyt that kills meâ€ thereâ€™s so many gems on this cd you get immediately smacked with this â€œthe anomaly your momma nominated me phenomenal/I dominated without a 6-pack abdominal/you could get 19 put through that like Amadou/so what Imma do is separate the false form the truest/youâ€™ve amassed nothing tying to ball like U Mass/so phenomenal with mics I donâ€™t like myself/sadomasochist MC I bite myself(Owww!)/but not Cameo though/thereâ€™s no Grammy to show.â€ â€œAnd pardon if it sounds a lil weezy/not wayne m*thaf*ckas I got asthma itâ€™s not easyâ€
The title track, “W.A.R.” featuring Immortal Technique (by the way his â€œThe 3rd World, Revoluntionary Vol 1 & Vol 2â€œ cdâ€™s were also ridiculous) and Vernon Reid (from the heavy metal band Living Colour) produced by Marco Polo defines W.e A.re R.enegades like how Morpheus and Neo rebelled against the machines in â€œThe Matrixâ€ against consciousness. The official single off the album is â€œClap (One Day)â€ featuring Showtyme and DJ Boogie Blind produced by M-Phazes was inspired by the horrific cases involving Oscar Grant, Alyana Jones and Sean Bell Police shootings. Basically a 2011â€œF**k Da Policeâ€ to the boys in blue. After the beat drops in the purest form of a cipher over claps only PM spits
â€œno respect no manners its Madd Max multiple macks madd banana clips a black hammer that hits the back of a black talent/a slew of hollow tips through the wall of ya blue silence/And selective theatrics collected dramatics/Iâ€™m systematically pissed, clap automatic for me and Abu Jamal/Maybe Iâ€™m pissed peace are fanatics for peace, but ainâ€™t got a pacifist/(The Gospel Eye) Spit it like Jesus of Nazareth and then emphatically clap/At in the obstacle, an impossible feat, the fathom is not logical but chronicle the thoughts of the people cause one day we gonna clap.â€
If “Clap” didn’t bring you back to the political side of hip-hop that still does address the injustice still going on this present day we live in then *MJ’s voice* “You’re a vegeta-blllllle”. Pharoahe Monch throughout the album gives you food for thought. PM doesn’t lose a step even with his guest MC collabos…(perfect segway to *clears throat* to our next song) lol
â€œAssassinsâ€ featuring Jean Grae & Royce Da 5â€™9â€ also produced by M-Phazes doesnâ€™t disappoint. These three MCâ€™s together on one flamer does exactly as the title statesâ€¦they assassinate this track. Jean Grae:
â€œBlistering lines, packed in six stick to sign/rap with a sick mind trapped in thick bytch frame/drug you with strychnine & nine drinks you drunken it’s my kidney you dyck brain/I’m just itching to slit veins
stitch mine/quit games f*ck your life, sick brains/bytches ni**a kick rocks or kick rhymes
it’s to the pain/ni**a riddled liver, sipping it, sipping it like Capri Sun/ignant as ever she clever equivalent be none.â€
â€¦.smackinâ€™ the next rapper that uses the word swagger after/these 3 assassins get to ass wippinâ€™ prepare for a professional azz kickin/shape shift spit I don’t tip clits mainly/sick ainâ€™t he? mind control, make you shoot your best friend in the face Dick Chaney/my life is like a documentary film depicted in black and white flicks grainy/(Geranimo!) Iâ€™m on Guantanamo Bay takinâ€™ pics in a Captain Morgan pose with my left foot on a pile of detainees/screaminâ€™ we are renegades, f*ck you pay me!â€
Royce Da 5â€™9â€:
â€œI’m on point like Chris Paul, you on point like an Atlantic city hooker that licks balls/I’m about to flip in this bitch like Dominic Dawes/and shut shyt down like a car when it stalls/I am the deadliest rapper you claiminâ€™ you flow like water but yall ni**aâ€™s flow like Evian backwards/Marshall hit the jackpot wit da flow dat I got, I’m knowing I’m hot its my show to stop, holdinâ€™ my crotch/my whip cleaner than Amish men and honest ends/2 dimes wit me like I’m a twin, cause I’m a ten.â€
The album is a straight up wake up call to game, go hard or go home.
From lyrics to production itâ€™s on point: â€œBlack Hand Side” featuring Styles P and Phonte produced by Mike Loe, â€œLet My People Goâ€ produced by Fatin â€œ10â€ Horton, â€œShineâ€ featuring Mela Machinko produced by MC/Producer Veteran and Diggin’ In the Crates member Diamond D, â€œHalie Selassie Karateâ€ featuring Mr. Porter produced by Sam I Am, â€œThe Hitmanâ€ produced by M-Phazes, and â€œThe Grand Illusion (Circa 1973)” featuring Citizen Cope (“Let The Drummer Kick”) produced by Adam Deitch & Eric Krasno.
Iâ€™m going to have to close out with my favorite from the album called â€œStill Standingâ€ featuring Jill Scott produced again by M-Phazes an inspirational song for kids or anyone who grew up with Asthma especially in the inner city. Although I am not a victim of the lung disease this song helps me focus when being knocked down in life, but like Monch was able to still come out backed in a corner firing combinations and still standing. Basically no excuses not to succeed at whatever. Sorry I got a lil personal but hey that heat keeps me focused so deal with it thatâ€™s life lol. Something like
â€œI have no dead bodies to claim/never been a trigga man/ crack never pedaled that opposite of Jigga man/doubled my expectancy can you believe it/ look no bullet wounds not paraplegic/still standing like the pledge of allegiance/moves made both emotional and strategic/my heart disintegrated in a million pieces/listen thatâ€™s life deal wit it press reset download pain write a thesis/perform for milli-ions Brazilian visas (I got it)/ transcontinental indigenous divas/that speak multiple languages for unspeakable reasons/in still there are places that I never been/like the Statue of Liberty my knees will never bend/except for when Iâ€™m speakinâ€™ to God/it feels like halftime Imma reach for the starsâ€¦..Iâ€™m Still Standing Iâ€™m still hereâ€
as Jill Scott takes you to churchâ€¦.Amen. A must have. So have at it.