67)Pharoahe Monch – Queens

Song: Queens

Album: Internal Affairs

Year: 1999

Pharoahe Monch’s solo debut Internal Affairs was a departure from the music he made as a member of subterranean staple Organized Konfusion. While still hardcore, this album had a lot more fun and soul than one might expect from an album coming out on Rawkus in 1999.”Queens” wasn’t exactly one of the more fun songs but it was definitely soulful (for reasons I’m sure you’re already aware, but I’ll go on to explain in a second for those who aren’t), I think it started to make the college radio circuit possibly as a B-side to “Simon Says” before the album dropped and I dug it.

There’s nothing extraordinary about the story told on “Queens”, you’ve seen it in enough TV shows and movies and heard it on enough rap songs at this point. But the detail with which Monch broke down Donovan’s story was impeccable, and the sample…punk ass Maxwell (I have what could be considered an unreasonable distaste for Maxwell’s music aside from a handful of songs). “Til The Cops Come Knockin” was a single of his that I avoided when Urban Hang Suite was popping because at the time it was just punk shit to me (it would go on to become one of the small number of Maxwell songs I actually do fool with). All I knew was the “Queens” beat was amazing, stuttering drums and all, come to find out it was Maxwell, the best a Maxwell arrangement could have ever sounded to my ears. This song showed me you can sample anything so long as you make it sound good, and boy did Monch and co-producer Lee Stone make it sound good.

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