Prince Po The Slickness

[Lex; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: underground hip-hop
Others: Pharoah Monch, Organized Konfusion, Talib Kweli, Mos Def

It's finally Prince Po's turn to live up to the hype conjured from his extended hiatus from the hip-hop game. Better known as one half of the praised and eclectic underground hip-hop duo Organized Konfusion, Prince Po disappeared rather swiftly after his unpleasant separation with Pharoah Monch and the demise of their collaboration. While Monch received critical acclaim for his album release in 1999, Internal Affairs, and got everyone's ass shaking with his underground anthem "Simon Says," Prince Po disappeared into the shadows of the underground, not to be seen for a long time. Five years later, Po finally gathers enough courage and a collection of famous, talented collaborators and producers to release his anticipated debut, The Slickness.

It would be easy to compare Prince Po's work to Pharoah Monch. But while the two emcees made some fantastic music together as Organized Konfusion, both emcees have a distinct personal style. Monch's domination is evident in his metaphorical wordplay, twisting words to paint vivid images. Prince Po's rhyme skills are more linear, yet possess a mesmerizing element to them, chopping and slicing through with unremitting passion and perseverance. "Social Distortion" exemplifies this theory with its glossy, bass-infused backdrop, showcasing Po's extraordinary rhyme flow and his commitment to his personal technique and ability. With the help of MF Doom on vocals, Po has illustrated an appropriate connection with his collaborators, which was originally evident on any Organized Konfusion album.

The production of The Slickness is the driving force of the record. While Po continues to impress with each passing track on the record, the production and beats are perfectly matched with his emotional outpour. "Fall Back" and "Hold Dat" explain the rising fame of Danger Mouse, demonstrating his refreshing outlook at beat manipulation and production savvyness. And other producers like J-Zone and Madlib add substance and adequate positivity to match Po's musical prowess and competence.

Overall, Prince Po's The Slickness is a true underground gem. While not as commercially accessible as Monch's Internal Affairs, Po has created a worthy debut album. And to think of it, Prince Po's underground affiliation has always kept him at his creative best. I'm sure he is exactly where he wants to be, and The Slickness proves it.

1. Hello
2. Too Much
3. Love Thang
4. Hold Dat
5. It's Goin' Down
6. Social Distortion
7. The Slickness
8. Grown Ass Man
9. Bump Bump
10. Meet Me At Tha Bar
11. Fall Back
12. Be Easy
13. Hold Dat (Club Remix)