Organized Konfusion
Stress: The Extinction Agenda


5.0
classic

Review

by username345 USER (52 Reviews)
August 27th, 2008 | 88 replies | 14,006 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A slightly darker version of A Tribe Called Quest with fantastic atmospheric production and incredible rapping. An underrated classic.

Despite huge critical acclaim, Organized Konfusion’s second album, Stress: The Extinction Agenda, was unfortunately buried under a myriad of other great hip-hop albums released that year, especially Nas’ classic Illmatic.

Stress is slightly darker and less light-hearted than Organized Konfusion’s 1991 self-titled debut, removing the more poppy songs with a more down-tempo sound. That’s not to say that this is completely bleak and depressing; there is plenty of variety here with plenty of fantastic upbeat bass lines and jazzy samples, but the production and a lot of snare gives it a very bass-heavy dark sound. The mixture works incredibly well, combining a grimy atmosphere similar to that found on Illmatic with a jazzy sound found in groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. As a result, Stress sounds like A Tribe Called Quest’s darker, slightly paranoid cousin.

Much like Illmatic, Stress relies on this atmosphere to stay gripping, and atmosphere is one thing it contains plenty of. At times it sounds incredibly tense, like on ’Stray Bullet’, which details gang violence in terrifying detail, complete with gunshots, and at times like on ‘3-2-1’ in stark contrast sounds almost completely calm and relaxing. The album never sounds completely ‘happy’ though, you won’t hear anything as upbeat and cheerful as ‘Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?’ from the debut here. The lack of obviously catchy hooks helps in bands favour however, stopping the songs from getting stale after a few listens.

Despite the wide variety of themes and moods explored in Stress it never sounds at all disjointed though. The consistently brilliant production holds it all together, giving the whole album a familiar unique sound. Most of the production is done by the two band members, Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po, with a few songs from Buckwild and Roickwilder. For hip-hop it is surprisingly complex, with sometimes densely layered samples and odd time-signature changes.

Of course, good hip-hop is nothing without quality rapping to back up the music and Stress contains some of the very best. Pharoahe Monch in particular is incredible, rapping at a ridiculously fast pace with complex rhymes and a huge variety of styles but always with complete precision and with every single word totally clear. It truly is some of the most impressive rapping ever recorded. Prince Po is fantastic too, but seems shadowed by Monch. His rapping adds to Monch’s perfectly though, and is definitely a very underrated rapper. Apart from very minimal contributions from O.C. and A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip in ‘Let’s Organize’, these two do all the rapping on the album.

The lyrics are equally impressive, with intricate multi-syllabic rhyme schemes and complex metaphors. Many of the songs explore typical hip-hop themes, detailing gang violence, but never glorifying it at all. The album deals with ambitious concepts but pulls them all off fantastically, thanks to the excellent rapping.

Overall, Stress is one of the most underrated hip-hop albums ever released; almost completely flawless except for a slightly dated production and Pharoahe Monche shadowing Prince Po’s performance so much. These are all very minor complaints though, and this should definitely be one of the first albums anyone interested in hip-hop should get.



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user ratings (135)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 27th 2008


3767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

F'ucking HUGE album, nice to see a good reivew of it here. Theres just so much going on in all the songs and the lyrics are hands down the best in rap. I only gave this a 4 because their s/t is better. Although now I'm thinking about it, i'm not so sure. Will have to relisten.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

username345
August 27th 2008


594 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hmm, I dunno. They're pretty close... I think this is a tiny bit better though.

It's now my second favourite rap album:
1. Illmatic
2. This
3. The Low End Theory

jrowa001
August 27th 2008


8750 Comments


Cocaine recommended me this but i havent listened to it yet. good review

SHOOTME
August 27th 2008


2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

jrowa go listen to this right now.

Tyler
Emeritus
August 28th 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I like the s/t more but this is more or less just as good. IE Really fucking good.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
August 28th 2008


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've never heard this... and I'm not a big ATCQ fan. I mean, they're awesome, but I just can't listen to it without losing focus. Although, I do like Pharoahe Monch quite a bit. We Shall See.This Message Edited On 08.28.08

username345
August 29th 2008


594 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've decided I love this enough to bump the rating up to a 5.

Zebra
Moderator
September 30th 2008


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i can't get enough of this album. monche rules as does the dark, gritty production.

irishmanshibby
January 7th 2009


355 Comments


Crush... kill... destroy... stress!

Tulannical
July 1st 2009


2051 Comments


to my peeps in brooklyn, CLAP YA HANDS

FistfulOfSteel
August 11th 2009


894 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album fucking rules.

731
August 15th 2010


662 Comments


This is fantastic

qwe3
October 5th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

holy shit monch's flow on "bring it on" is just mind-boggling. i catch my fucking breath at that song

qwe3
October 5th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude 1994 was probably the best year for rap period.

patroneyes
October 5th 2010


1919 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

pharoahe is the illest

qwe3
October 5th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude i can't get enough of his flow. its much better here than on his solo stuff. and his solo stuff rules

patroneyes
October 5th 2010


1919 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

spit it out spit it out go ahead spit out

qwe3
October 5th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you have awesome taste

liledman
November 4th 2010


3826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

holy shit monch's flow on "bring it on" is just mind-boggling. i catch my fucking breath at that song


came here to say exactly that, god damn its good.

ShadowRemains
November 19th 2010


20687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so fucking good

Digging: Banks - Goddess



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