Album Review/Stream: Prince Po & Oh No- Animal Serum

Posted: February 17, 2014 by ericbernsen in Album Reviews, Music
Tags: , , , , ,

2014 marks the year of 20th anniversaries for a plethora of hip-hop’s greatest albums, as 1994 was a year stacked with legendary releases such as Nas’s Illmatic and OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. One album that may unfortunately get overshadowed in terms of reminiscing is Organized Konfusion’s underground classic Stress: The Extinction Agenda that found both Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch in a raw artistic zone. And while the innovative Pharoahe Monch has become the more recognizable face of the group, that by no means discounts the contributions of Prince Po, and we have been reminded of this with the album Animal Serum. Prince Po has teamed up with critically acclaimed producer Oh No for the collaborative effort that provides a dark, psychedelic trip for listeners who are met with a chaotically, yet well-crafted body of work.

Prince Po brings forth a ‘rage against the machine’ type of mentality on Animal Serum and we feel that sentiment immediately with “Machine Rages”. While the album is not entirely fueled by Prince Po’s politically-charged lyrics, the veteran lyricist does have a knack for breaking down societal order within his rhymes. Prince Po’s aggressiveness on the mic is marked by his fiery wordplay as well as vivid imagery that matches up nicely with Oh No’s menacing production. Prince Po’s rebellious state of mind is able to keep pace with Oh No’s unpredictability behind the boards as the producer chops up samples and reworks them into an entirely unique final product. Oh No’s sonic range is marked by the surprisingly standout record”Keep Reachin”, which takes a break from the general madness of Animal Serum with its smooth hook  and soulful vibes.

Nevertheless, the core of Animal Serum lives in tracks such as album single “Toxic” that has Prince Po creating violent scenarios in his verses over the grimy production of Oh No. One of the other more high-profile songs “Smash” (which features Pharoahe Monch and O.C) also succeeds in a similar vein as each emcee uses their appropriate flows to keep up with the forward moving beat. Prince Po and Oh No knew what they were doing when they invited veteran artists like Sadat X and Rock of Heltah Skeltah (who kills it on “U Already”) to join in on the madness of Animal Serum. While the album proves to be anything but one-dimensional, the scattered sounds of Animal Serum makes some of its tracks rather forgettable not because of their quality, but merely in the struggle for the listener to keep up with the frantic pace.

However, the pros of Animal Serum by far outweigh the cons as Prince Po consistently delivers on the mic as his lyrical savviness shines throughout the project. Maintaining that focus from the intro to the strong closer “Givitup” is a noteworthy feat by Prince Po because your typical rapper would slip and fall trying to navigate around Oh No’s eccentric production. And when you combine the sonic peaks reached by Oh No with Prince Po’s steady arsenal of exceptional verses, Animal Serum proves to be a definitive worthwhile listen that all Organized Konfusion fans will relish in.

Album Rating: 3 out of 5






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