Prince Po The Slickness

As one half of Organized Konfusion, authors of Stress: The Extinction Agenda, one of the finest conceptual hip-hop albums ever, Prince Po often played the blue-collar sidekick next to Pharoahe Monch’s verbal gymnastics. But on his first solo endeavour Prince Po clearly relishes the challenge to show and prove by himself by incorporating lessons learned from OK and his former partner in rhyme. "Hold Dat” sports the type of unorthodox appeal that made Pharoahe’s "Simon Says” a success and the exquisite restraint of "Love Thang”’ stirs memories of OK’s "Walk Into The Sun.” By recruiting some of the most bugged-out underground producers in Madlib, J-Zone and Danger Mouse, who actually urged Po to record this album, the dull production that eventually weighed down OK is avoided. The trio supply the leftfield funk, Po’s irregular flow commands, egging him on to greater heights. He’s in rare form on "Hello,” randomly name-checking everyone from Depeche Mode to Black Sabbath. Elsewhere he manages to credibly pull off party joints without kowtowing to the execrable lover boy thug blueprint and drops the gauntlet on Bloomberg’s New York. Raekwon, MF Doom & J-Ro of the Liks shine in their cameos, but it is Prince Po who, in the light of the recently scuttled OK reunion, finally and firmly establishes his own top billing. (Lex)