Of all the albums I own, a few of them took me YEARS to own, some longer than others, lol. Although the list is relatively short, the following albums I’m going to discuss in this topic are albums that directly or indirectly took years to be added to my collection, and they do come with stories too!
½ of Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe Monch’s debut was one of 1999’s most anticipated albums, and in short, it exceeded my expectations, as it was an excellent album all around, featuring great production that fit his style, and of course he was sharp as ever on the lyrical side. Those are the good parts. The bad part here is that not too long after its release, the album itself was deleted, due to an apparent uncleared sample that was used on his only major hit to date “Simon Says”. This album remains out of print and it doesn’t appear to be rereleased any time soon.
This album has always been a personal favorite of mine. I remember owning this on cassette back in the day, and it was another one of those tapes that I rocked till it popped! Around the time I started my CD collection, this was out of print and it remained that way till April 22, 2008 when it was reissued via Fontana Distribution. Prior to that, I tried every search possible to find this album, but with no luck, and that’s until I logged onto Ebay in early 2008 and put in a heavy $20 bid in, and I won this auction also! Saying I was excited was a complete understatement, and it was good to finally add this classic album back to my collection after so many years.
Remember this duo back in 1998? “Déjà vu (Uptown Baby” was one of the year’s biggest hits and it got consistent radio and video play, however, after this single, that was relatively it for them, effectively branding them as “one hit wonders”. Lord Tariq still made guest appearances here and there, while Peter Gunz, whose son Cory Gunz is apparently (still) signed to YMCMB, made even less noise.
I remember anticipating this one quite a bit prior to its release. My cousin Andre bought the CD before I did, so I couldn’t help but ask him to borrow it and listen to it shortly afterwards, lol, but I never got around to buying it. At the time, I was satisfied with what I heard, but always felt they could’ve done better. Tariq was always the lyrical muscle of the duo and Gunz held his own. The production was decent (more samples on a few songs, including a forgettable “cover” of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something” on, well, the cut “Startin’ Somethin). Overall, they did fairly well by balancing the hard tracks for the streets and the radio friendly cuts, and what resulted was a decent album.
(As of this posting, this album will be arriving in the mail today. I had to get this via Ebay due to it being out of print for the longest time.)
Rating- Probably a solid 3.5 stars.
5 favorite songs- Déjà vu (Uptown Baby), One Life to Live, Massive Heat (featuring Kurupt & Sticky Fingaz), Streets to da Stage (featuring Cam’ron), & Cross Bronx Expressway (featuring Big Pun & Fat Joe)
I also want to share a small story on this one. One day in the month of January 2000, myself and long time friend Kentyl made a trip to our local Circuit City. It was all but confirmed (in my mind at least, lol) that the purpose of this visit was to buy Beanie Sigel’s “The Truth” and this Pharoahe Monch album. To this day, I don’t know why, but I allowed Kentyl to talk me out of buying the Monch album (smh+lol), when never before or since no one has ever directly influenced what I buy (and I’m VERY selective regarding what I purchase). Instead I bought RZA’s “Bobby Digital In Stereo” album along with Sigel’s debut, and that was not a good decision at all. Sigel’s album was very good, but I was not impressed with the Bobby Digital album, and this is coming from a long time Wu fan. Since that time, I searched everywhere I could for the Pharoahe Monch album, and due to it being out of print, I could only get it used/pre-owned, and the prices were expensive. So, FINALLY late last year, I hoped on Ebay and saw that a seller had a copy of it in excellent condition, threw my bids in (while slightly challenged by another bidder), and I won! I can’t recall the price at the moment, but needless to say it was very reasonable and I was SO glad to finally add this to my collection YEARS after it should’ve been added in the year 2000.
Rating- 4.5 stars
5 favorite songs- Simon Says (the original and remix), Behind Closed Doors, No Mercy (featuring M.O.P.), and Hell (featuring Canibus)
As far as the album goes, it was one of the best albums of 1991. Large Professor shined on the mic and behind the boards, as well as introducing the world to the greatest MC of all time, Nas, on “Live At The BBQ”.
Rating- 5 stars
5 favorite songs- Live At The BBQ (featuring Nas, Akinyele, & Joe Fatal), Looking At The Front Door, Snake Eyes, Just a Friendly Game of Baseball, & Peace Is Not The Word To Play
Check out the review.
I never thought it would ever take so long to own these four albums, and in the case of the Pharoahe Monch and Main Source albums, they’re here to stay!