Pharoahe Monch’s “W.A.R.” (We Are Renegades) Album Review

Before we go in, let it be known Pharoahe Monch is a Hip Hop veteran that has not waivered through his career steppin’ into the game with Organized Konfusion with fellow MC Prince Po and a solo classic “Simon Says”. So if you call yourself a true hip hop head you know about the kid, but if you don’t do ya frickin’ homework google, wikipedia or something or whatever…(eh-hem clears throat) and now that that’s over…..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 It’s a “straight through “cd, 1-13 and that’s my word. As hard as it may be I’m going to have narrow down some tracks because I’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 “The Warning” featuring Idris Elba produced by Pharoahe Monch himself and that’s just Idris forewarning about the future so then Pharoahe follows up with “Calculated Amalgamation” produced by Lion Share Music Group giving a taste of what’s to come with

“I 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.”

If you need a reason to “Evolve” produced by Exile provided

“Yes, how many gorillas who actually killas really rhymin’/artists that actually signed still killing/and when it comes to killing the mic/they not willing and I’m supposed to be shook/that’s the shyt that kills me” there’s so many gems on this cd you get immediately smacked with this “the 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/you’ve amassed nothing tying to ball like U Mass/so phenomenal with mics I don’t like myself/sadomasochist MC I bite myself(Owww!)/but not Cameo though/there’s no Grammy to show.” “And pardon if it sounds a lil weezy/not wayne m*thaf*ckas I got asthma it’s not easy”

lol

The title track, “W.A.R.” featuring Immortal Technique (by the way his “The 3rd World, Revoluntionary Vol 1 & Vol 2“ cd’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 “The Matrix” against consciousness. The official single off the album is “Clap (One Day)” 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 2011“F**k Da Police” to the boys in blue. After the beat drops in the purest form of a cipher over claps only PM spits

“no 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/I’m systematically pissed, clap automatic for me and Abu Jamal/Maybe I’m pissed peace are fanatics for peace, but ain’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.”

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

“Assassins” featuring Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9” also produced by M-Phazes doesn’t disappoint. These three MC’s together on one flamer does exactly as the title states…they assassinate this track. Jean Grae:

“Blistering 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.”

PM:

….smackin’ the next rapper that uses the word swagger after/these 3 assassins get to ass wippin’ prepare for a professional azz kickin/shape shift spit I don’t tip clits mainly/sick ain’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!) I’m on Guantanamo Bay takin’ pics in a Captain Morgan pose with my left foot on a pile of detainees/screamin’ we are renegades, f*ck you pay me!”

Royce Da 5’9”:

“I’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 claimin’ you flow like water but yall ni**a’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, holdin’ 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.”

The album is a straight up wake up call to game, go hard or go home.

From lyrics to production it’s on point: “Black Hand Side” featuring Styles P and Phonte produced by Mike Loe, “Let My People Go” produced by Fatin “10” Horton, “Shine” featuring Mela Machinko produced by MC/Producer Veteran and Diggin’ In the Crates member Diamond D, “Halie Selassie Karate” featuring Mr. Porter produced by Sam I Am, “The Hitman” produced by M-Phazes, and “The Grand Illusion (Circa 1973)” featuring Citizen Cope (“Let The Drummer Kick”) produced by Adam Deitch & Eric Krasno.

I’m going to have to close out with my favorite from the album called “Still Standing” 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 that’s life lol. Something like

“I 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 that’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 I’m speakin’ to God/it feels like halftime Imma reach for the stars…..I’m Still Standing I’m still here”

as Jill Scott takes you to church….Amen. A must have. So have at it.

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One of the first dancers hired on BET's Teen Summit as a regular. Danced on BET's Teen Summit for 5 years with "The Best Kept Secret" DJ Cocoa Chanelle and straight from the "Tiger's Den" Big Tigga along with Teen Summit's host from Belma Johnson, Prince Dajour to Ananda Lewis. Malcolm has also been danced for such artist like Mya, Missy, Timbaland & Magoo, Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Lil Kim, Method Man, Jay-Z, 112, Mary J. Blige, Horace Brown just to name a few. With Malcolm's aka Showpiece love for music and music production/songwriting ability has his hand on the pulse of music anywhere from R&B to Alternative. These characteristics only enlightens his writing ability encompassing a unique take on the music he reviews and this is one of the imprints of G Style Magazine that helps keep the G in G Style fresh.