Pharoahe Monch - W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)
Review by Eric Merriweather
Pharoahe Monch's new album W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) starts off with the Idris Elba assisted spoken word intro that sets the tone for Monch's greatest and most complete album to date. The Exile produced "Evolve" is the perfect start off track and Pharoahe Monch sounds as good as ever. From top to bottom, the album couldn't have been put together any better and while most albums nowadays have moments of inconsistency, W.A.R. doesn't disappoint any longtime fan of Pharoahe Monch.
On the title track, Monch recruits fellow renegade Immortal Technique as he sets the tone on the chrous of the hard hitting Marco Poloproduction. This song is followed by the lead single "Clap" (One Day), "We went from Niggas to porch monkeys, to negroes, to blacks back to niggas again, yet niggas are still hungry. Abolished the "N" word, the plan so corny, my homeland security cams are all on me". Throughout "Clap" Pharoahe Monch delivers militant lyrics and the songs outro sums it all up, "Spit it like Jesus of Nazareth and then emphatically clap, At in the obstacle an impossible feat the favime is not logical but chronicle the thoughts of the people cause one day we gonna CLAP!". All the momentum keeps building into the next standout track "Black Hand Side" featuring Styles P & Phonte. The song starts off with Styles P telling everyone his view from "a black mans eyes' but while Styles P comes correct, Pharoahe Monch is razor sharp while Phonte sings a simple yet good chorus (wish he would rap more though).
The M-Phazes produced "Hitman" has Pharoahe Monch speaking on ring tone rappers and creating sex tapes (coughs* Montana Fishburne) in search of quick fame. While the next track titled "Assassins" may be the W.A.R.'s ultimate standout song as it features Royce Da 5'9'' and Jean Grae sounding as good as Nicki Minaj on her best day, let the "who had the best verse" talk begin now. Citizen Cope adds an alternative rock sound to another great standout song, "Illusions" while the dark undertone of W.A.R. ends on a happy note with "Still Standing". Perhaps an anthem for anybody whoever persevered in any obstacle in life.
Pharoahe Monch stated that W.A.R. is an album for the "intellectual lyric loving hip hop fans" and he delivered on his statement. Production was solid and effective on throughout while lyrically Pharoahe Monch never takes his foot off the pedal. Delivering a socially conscious album without sounding over preachy is sometimes tough for artists to do, but W.A.R. is a raw flawless piece of work and easily Pharoahe's best work to date.
Album Rating: 5 out of 5