Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon; Photo: Facebook

Comprised of lyricists Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch, Organized Konfusion are the physical embodiment of the golden-era; proud ambassadors who shaped the culture in profoundly influential ways.

The duo’s best years unfolded during the movement’s apex, and while they weren’t the most visible group at the time they still left an indelible mark on the rap landscape. In just six short years they were able to seamlessly integrate rhythmic wordplay, genre bending beats and poignant narratives into one, perfectly capturing the mercurial climate of the ’90s.

Organized Konfusion’s, self-titled debut was one in a tidal wave of now classic hip-hop albums; The Low End Theory, Breaking Atoms, Mr. Hood and A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing created an atmosphere that was akin to the 1984 NBA Draft class, a lineup laced with Hall of Famers.

Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po captured a synergy that made the album an immediate classic. This wasn’t the “Simon Says” Pharoahe Monch of today, but a rookie who was looking to prove himself on the biggest stage. His rawness propelled the album forward while Prince Po’s balanced attack provided a grounding force; together, making for a powerful jab and cross combo.

Walk Into The Sun” captures the explosive energy that Organized Konfusion was harnessing. The beat is a blitzkrieg, and both ride the wave like Eddie Aikau. There’s no one singular narrative, but rather a dozen or so snapshots that project Organized Konfusion’s vision: [LISTEN]

The success of their first album turned Organized Konfusion into underground icons, a rebel force whose ideology stood tall against the mainstream’s empirical grip. Their follow up Stress: The Extinction Agenda held a much darker tone, one that mirrored their growing dismay over the failed American Dream; the same shift that occurred with Digable Planets from Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) to Blowout Comb.

For Stress: The Extinction Agenda, Organized Konfusion commissioned outsiders to help with the production, which helped them express a newfound growth and maturation. Future legends Buckwild and Rockwilder took on the challenge, and created a dense atmosphere that epitomized Organized Konfusion’s mounting angst; a deeper style of production that utilized rare breaks and samples.

Black Sunday” frames the future funk sounds of For Stress: The Extinction Agenda. The Eugene McDaniels sample (of “Freedom Death Dance“) adds an off-kilter tone, which inspires Pharoahe Monch to channel his inner preacher. It was a rough upbringing full of challenges, but he envisioned his success like a prophet and executed it like a boss: [LISTEN]

Organized Konfusion would take another three year hiatus to prepare for their third and final album The Equinox. Being the trailblazers that they were, fans knew to expect something conceptually different from their other two albums. The narrative had slowly been building and for The Equinox they went all out.

Within the text is a sub-narrative entitled “Invetro.” It tells the story from the perspective of unborn twins. Pharoahe Monch is hoping to be aborted while Prince Po is pining to live: [LISTEN]

Pharoahe Monch raps:

And Prince Po counters with:

With just three albums, Organzied Konfusion carved out a Grand Canyon throughout hip-hop. They pushed the gamut and incorporated an entirely unique vision into their narratives. Eventually Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch would go on to forge successful solo careers, but what they accomplished as Organized Konfusion has stood the test of time. They were a dynamic duo whose rhymes still amaze even after a quarter-century; immortal rap from two of hip-hop’s most influential lyricists.