Like a number of ambitious rap artists and groups of the era, Organized Konfusion chose to up the ante on its sophomore effort and use the music as a springboard to explore some associated motifs and collect them together under a loose conceptual frame. Unlike the majority of those artists, OK made it work, and work exceptionally well, by keeping the concepts themselves vague while adding an extra fine-edged intricacy to its verbal licks. Pharoahe Monch and Prince Poetry are even more commanding as lyricists on Stress, spinning out stories much closer to the nuts and bolts of the street than on their debut. But in typical fashion for such gifted artists, they probe the psychological implications of urban life rather than merely relaying its superficial qualities. In response, the album's sound is less eccentric without losing any of its innovation. In fact, the duo consistently draped its words in adroit and vibrant sound amalgams, frequently employing electric jazz samples to that end, especially on the Herbie Hancock-sampled "Extinction Agenda" and Buckwild-produced "Why," which brilliantly ties together various strains of the genre. The MCs also plumbed a darker periphery on the portentous "Bring It On," where each raised the level of the lyrical game to unusual heights. Those who prefer the funky-weird Organized of the first album still have plenty to enjoy as well, particularly "3-2-1" and "Let's Organize," a party cut that also bounced off guests Q-Tip and O.C. What Stress might have lost in freshness and mirth from its predecessor, though, it gained in cohesiveness, consciousness, resonance, and, most strikingly, vision.
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AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart