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W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

Pharoahe Monch

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Album Review

With the 2011 release of his third album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), rapper Pharoahe Monch halved the eight-year wait fans endured between his first and second efforts. This strong, satisfying, often stunning third release proves he can deliver the goods under this tighter release schedule, and when listening to lyrics that are topical for 2011 (“Calculated Amalgamation” is inspired by the recent Egyptian revolution), one begins to wonder if it’s been three years off for Monch, and then one very strong year back on. Whatever the process, W.A.R. is worth it, chock-full of those wickedly smart Monch lines (“Even my reflection disrespects you like a freshman during hazing”) and Armageddon productions from the likes of M-Phazes, Diamond D, and Samiyam. These beats seem generally as mad and driven as the man himself, although “The Grand Illusion” with Citizen Cope adds some alternative rock to the mix while the closer, ”Still Standing,” is as elegant and soulful as its guest, Jill Scott. The socially concerned singles “Shine” and “Clap (One Day)” make for a decent intro, even if they are best heard in context, as this conceptually sound album uses linking dialog and a sensible running order to guide listeners through Monch’s war story.

Biography

Born: 31 October 1972 in Queens, New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While a member of the New York City duo Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe Monch developed a reputation as one of underground hip-hop's preeminent lyricists, crafting intricate and intelligent raps with partner Prince Poetry. After recording three albums together from 1991-1997, the two amicably split up, and Monch pursued a more aggressive solo style with the terrific independent label Rawkus. He made guest appearances on other artists' records and contributed tracks to the Rawkus compilation Soundbombing,...
Full Bio
W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), Pharoahe Monch
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