October 19, 2020

Pharoahe Monch "Internal Affairs" (Album Sampler, 1999)

"As one half of Organized Konfusion (OK), the 27-year-old Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., native co-sired some of hip-hop's most innovative but commercially ignored creations during his eight years of paying dues. Three albums later, and with OK on indefinite hiatus, Monch, born Troy Jamerson, sees his Rawkus Records solo debut, Internal Affairs (which features guest spots from fellow wonder mike masters Busta Rhymes, Canibus, and Common), as an opportunity to purge volatile emotions and refine his ever-evolving performance persona. "Moving into this LP," Monch says, "my goal is to develop an audience that [sees me], "He's kinda deep in the shit that he thinks about. At the same time, he likes porn, [sex], and the same shit I like.'" "Simon Says," Internal Affairs' commanding lead single, is the hottest song both on Big Apple radio and in clubland. Built off a doomsday horn riff, a freestyled do-as-Pharoahe-does chorus, and periodic exhortations to "get the fuck up!" it's that unique song that both underground-worshipping hip hop academicians and Hennessey-sipping thugs can enjoy. So how's this longtime underdog adjusting to such stratospheric recognition? "[People] haven't put the face together with the song," Monch concedes in a typically low-key manner. "I was on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, 'Simon Says' came on the radio, and, like, eight squeegle guys were all dancing around the car. I pulled up to the light and was like 'Yo, good lookin'.' And they're like, 'What the fuck are you lookin' at?'" But Monch is unfazed. He knows that with a Busta Rhymes-directed video for "Simon Says" on the way, nobody will have problems matching tune and performer." - Vibe, 12/99. Internal Affairs is still a classic album that I keep in constant rotation, so I thought I'd share the original cassette album sampler with you on its anniversary (10/19/99) today. The flip side of the cassette was Mos Def's Black On Both Sides, which maybe I'll share separately in another post.

The flyer for the album release party and more below...