Organized Konfusion

Organized Konfusion

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Organized Konfusion Review

by Stanton Swihart

The inspired debut album from the duo of Prince Poetry and Pharoahe Monch was arguably the underground rap album of the 1990s, at a time when "underground," aside from Ultramagnetic MC's, didn't really yet exist in the coherent manner that it would later in the decade. It most definitely represented an alternative and ran perpendicular to much of what passed for mainstream hip-hop in 1991, with the possible exception of the Native Tongue family, with which Organized Konfusion shared a maverick, sometimes playful, sensibility if not an identifiable sound. The MCs trade rhymes and intertwining, singsong choruses like a pair of old school pros, but their lyrical flows and topical themes were decidedly progressive for the era, and even still manage to sound almost futuristic. Poetry is no slouch as a rapper and, in fact, probably would have been the headliner in almost any other group, but Monch is obviously the breakout star here. His vocal presence is looming and imposing, to an almost apocalyptic degree at times ("Prisoners of War," the title song), as he throws out a relentless jet stream of complex verbiage and knotty images. But each is constantly surprising throughout Organized Konfusion, the reason it felt like such a cobweb clearer upon its release, and still feels so today. The duo also handled most of the production chores itself, creating a dense, visceral tapestry of strangely organic sounds, from the syrupy smooth and viscous tones of "Fudge Pudge" and "Audience Pleasers" to "Releasing Hypnotical Gases," all gurgling, alien internal processes, to the first whimsical single, Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?, presented here in its strikingly disparate original and remix versions. Organized Konfusion may be, alongside Main Source's Breaking Atoms, the quintessential cult hip-hop album from a decade full of forward-looking efforts.

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