In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s New York City hip-hop groups came a dime a dozen; but only 5-10 percent really had something to say. Enter Organized Konfusion, the duo consisting of two young Queens veterans known to the world as Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po. From 1990 to 1997 they released three full-length albums that are toay all more or less part of the definite hip-hop canon. Usually any rap group worth its name, features at least one rhymer that’s not really up to par; if only to make the A+ rapper look all that more extraordinary. That was not the case with Organized Konfusion at all; Po and Monch were both brilliant writers and complimented each other’s distinctive styles to perfection- Not only were it that they were incredible lyricists, sporting immaculate flows, but they also had a knack for creating unbelievably original song concepts (see tracks like “Stress”, “Inverto” and their most infamous joint “Sray Bullet”). The duo was easily one of the most creative and original crews in hip-hop. Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end, and after ’97s “The Euqonix” the duo called it quits as a group to focus on respective high-acclaimed solo projects on Rawkus and Lex Records, respectfully. I mean, who can forget Monch’s breakthrough solo single, the underground club monster called “Simon Says”?
But already way back in the late ‘80s, Prince Poetry and P Monch, went by Simply II Positive MC’s, recording music using a unique style that blended complex rhyme schemes with political messages, social commentary and more ordinary day-to-day happenings. Their style caught the attention of the legendary producer/engineer Paul C, a hip-hop veteran who during his tragically short career supplied classic material for the likes of Ultramagnetic Mc’s, Eric B. & Rakim, Main Source, Too Poetic, and Super Lover Cee, just to name a few. Paul had an unbelievable record collection and was straight up masterful at chopping samples and fatten up drum to a whole new level. Paul was a true master of his craft, and could easily make an aggressive or laidback masterpiece with his trusty SP1200 and a choice selection of vinyl. Paul seemed like the ideal producer to work with the Simply II Positive emcees, and Paul and the two Queens rhymers quickly struck up a friendship. As a trio the group was something out of the ordinary; one of the best, and most innovative producers around, and two of the most innovative spitters New York had to offer.
In 1989 the trio first started working on material together, with Paul C, together with Poetry and P Monch, crafting tracks like “Audience Pleasers”, “Cooling One Day”, and the breakneck speed monster “Prisoners of War”. Using funk and jazz samples, with a heavy emphasis on groove¬-infected basslines and powerful drum programming, Paul C’s production was the perfect fit for the machine-gun delivery and knowledgeable lyrics of the Simply II Positive MC’s. Picking out five of the newly recorded tracks for the official demo tape (“Audience Pleasers”, “Cooling One Day”, “Inernational Arrival”, “Mind Over Matter”. “Prisoners of War”), this would be the start of Organized Kondusion as the hip-hop fan would come to know them. Po and Monch had hopes of signing with Def Jam, but the demo got in the hands of a small Queens label called Solid Sound Records. Working with two no-name producers by the name of Neal Kelly and Kevin Osborne, the duo released two 12” singles which aimed for a cheesy commercial R&B-tinged sound that had nothing to do with the actual demo tape that they had originally supplied. The singles were named “Memories Of Love” and “South Side in Effect” and failed to receive any airplay at all despite the commercial direction the producers took the group’s music in. It was quite evident that this was not a direction that these Positive MC’s should move ahead further on, and luckily they were able to get out of their contract.
Around this time they changed their name to Organized Konnfusion and managed to sign a deal with Hollywood BASIC. Shortly before this their producer Paul C was tragically murdered in the middle of recording Eric B. & Rakim’s 1989 masterpice “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em”, which was completed by his young protogé William Mitchell a/k/a The Large Professor. This however meant that Paul C wasn’t able to produce Organized Konfusion’s self-titled ’91 debut although it’s quite clear that the ghostly fingerprints of the SP extraordinary is all over the record. Much of the songs might very well have originally been initiated by the late producer before being going into post-prouction and mixing by the artists themselves (the credited producers). This would be supported by the fact that “Organized Konfusion” sound likes a refined, natural extension on what’s heard on the Paul C demo. Add to that the fact that two of the demo tracks (“Audience Pleasers” and”Prisoners Of War”) appear here as well, in very similar mixes, and last but not least that both subsequent Organized albums sound very different from this actual debut LP. We may never know for sure, but what we can be certain of is that Paul C’s sound heavily influenced O.K.s debut z great deal. But more than that, it’s a fantastic album no matter what, and one that almost 25 years down the line, it still holds up as both a lyrical and musical masterpiece. But before you dust of this classic follow me on a trip down memory lane and listen to the original Simply II Positive MC’s, fully produced by Paul C.
01. "Audience Pleasers"
02. "Cooling One Day"
03. "International Arrival"
04. "Mind Over Matter"
05. "Prisoners Of War"
SIMPLY II POSITIVE MC'S - '89 DEMO