Welcome to “The Come Back”. This will be a bi-monthly feature where I revisit some of rap’s good to great albums that people may have missed or just need to check out again. This feature will be my opinion on how well these albums aged and how it impacted my life during the time. Check back for it. I hope this causes you to check out something’s you haven’t heard in awhile.
Album: The Equinox
Artist: Organized Konfusion
Year Released: 1997
Producers: Organized Konfusion, Rockwilder, Diamond D, Buckwild, Rasheed, Showbiz, Casper
Guests: Hurricane G and Rude One
Organized Konfusion is one of those niche groups that gave you instant hip hop credibility when you were talking about music. OK are the geniuses behind songs with sharp lyricism such as “Fudge Pudge” and “Stray Bullet”. “Stray Bullet” was the predecessor to songs like Nas’ “I Gave Your Power”. OK was a group for the culture. They had new school sensibilities with grimy New York beats. Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch are lyricists in the purest form.
Enter “The Equinox”. While living in Milwaukee in the fall of 97 I stumbled upon this CD in a random store. I was in the mall and didn’t realize that they had a new album out. During that era unless you were a major release you didn’t know when an album was coming out. I vividly recall looking at the price of the CD and it was higher than others. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. Regardless, I pulled out my freshly minted credit card (with a terrible interest rate) and bought it. It instantly transported me from a window seat on the Milwaukee bus to Queens, New York.
This album takes you to a time where lyrics and rhyme style mattered. While Prince Po isn’t a slouch — the obvious star of the group is Pharoahe Monch. His styles are so imaginative and matched with an off kilter flow that you find yourself playing catch up with his rhymes and processing them on the fly. This is the era where rappers found themselves being walking thesauruses. Some of them used the words correctly and others either made up words or used them incorrectly. I’m looking at you Keith Murray and Canibus.
Some of the highlights of this album include songs like, “Questions” where Pharoahe raps, “Your style is depleted like muscles with no amino acids”. There are lines like this scattered all through the album. “Confrontation” sounds like it could have come out of a Boot Camp Click session. Showbiz of DITC handled the production. OK excels where Po and Monch can go back and forth and play off each other.
The album is a typical of many projects during the 90s. Artists wanted to place as many songs on an album as possible, often to mixed results. While the skits on this album helps bring cohesion; you can’t help but realize there are a few songs that should be cut. Specifically “Sin” which sounds dated even by 97 standards.
This is a really good album that got lost in a really good year for hip-hop in 1997. Busta Rhymes’ “When Disaster Strikes”, Common’s classic “One Day It Will All Make Sense” and a the culture shifting “Ghetto D” by Master P released all in the same month. A borderline great hip hop is lost in a month of album releases of that quality. It also came on the tail end of the summer of Puff Daddy. You know the summer where he was “dancin’ all up in your videos”. With all that said — this album still rings true with hip-hop aficionados.
I definitely recommend checking out “The Equinox” again. It gives you that 90s feel with typical head nod beats. The album did not age well but even on nights when you sip champagne you still long for the simpler times of drinking Andre with old friends. “The Equinox” serves as a chapter of hope of what hip-hop was and hopefully what it can be again.