One hip-hop album that rarely leaves the top of the pile around here is Organized Konfusion’s 1994 classic Stress. Wrapped in an eye-popping Matt “Doo” Reid painting where rappers Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch front like classic Marvel Comics superheroes against a toontown New York skyline that appears to be melting into bubbling lava, Stress rides the skull-cracking jazz and funk samples of early-’90s rap into the menacing (but occasionally playful) sci-fi world on its cover. (As anyone who’s lived in Queens knows, portions of it might as well be outer space already.) The title track turns a lowdown two-note acoustic bass sample, eerie piano, and trumpet squeals like dying seals into the darkest funk this side of early Wu-Tang. (Check out the video, beaming in from the era when you could fill up three minutes with guys in puffy jackets mugging for the fish-eye on the corner.)
Organized were obviously key DNA for folks like Company Flow and Anti-Pop–especially thanks to Prince and Pharoahe’s tongue-flaying rhyme schemes and boasts that sound like biblical prophecy–but OK’s music actually swung and P&P also dropped science about topics important to humans, like scheming girlfriends and how much time they had to spend folding shirts at department stores before they could get their rap deal. Missing Toof has a full rundown with MP3s of the group’s history, from the late golden era mind-bender “Releasing Hypnotical Gasses” to the two members’ more recent solo output.
Old Rap Wednesdays: Pharoahe Monch and Organized Konfusion [Missing Toof]