On this day, Oct. 29, in hip-hop history…


Label Hollywood BASIC / Elektra Records

1991: Simultaneously ahead of their time, and widely overlooked by the general masses, Organized Konfusion, which consisted of a young and developing eighteen year old Pharoahe Monch, and rousing 22-year-old Prince Poetry, released their debut self-titled album, and with it, collectively became the exemplars of an avant-garde genre that would ultimately be characterized as progressive underground hip-hop.

Exclusively produced in its entirety by the duo themselves, the album’s jazz and funk influenced instrumentation, lead by protracted bass lines, expressive horns, and gospel-relating keys, pair with the chaotic, yet sharp beat structures to provide an appropriate canvas for what is undoubtedly the most prominent and compelling distinction of Organized Konfusion: lyrical chemistry and ingenuity.

The Queens, New York raised counterparts fluidly mesh throughout their introductory effort, impressing with profound subject matter and an operatic complexity that was both advanced and steadily insightful for the current infrastructure of hip-hop at that moment. For residing in such a youthful state, both Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po astoundingly approach the microphone as if they were seasoned authorities, exhibiting multi syllable diction, and stylistic alliteration to elaborate on politically driven records (“Prisoners Of War”), socially conscious songs (“Walk Into The Sun”) religiously comprehensive tracks (“Open Your Eyes”), and in most instances, simply showcase their lyrical aptitude.

While both MC’s are equally as dynamic, and rightfully feed off each other’s brilliance amongst the fifty-seven minute album, there are a few select occasions where Pharoahe Monch dazzles, showcasing a competence for expression that would eventually pave the way for a prosperous solo career. On the album’s fourth and most notable track, “Releasing Hypnotical Gases”, he ingeniously delivers – “The intelligent one, utilizing the mind. Third vision, surrounded by a three-sided figure. Containing the brain, the triggering mechanism, from which I strike. Sight beyond sight, sound beyond sound. Which comes from below the magma, the granite, the ground.”

While Organized Konfusion may not have received the extensive acclaim that it warranted, it certainly holds a substantial place in the hearts of the hip-hop faithful. An album that was powerful, complete, and innovative beyond imagination, it still remains a true diamond in the field of hip-hop classics 27 years later. – Michael Blair

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