Rawkus Records – Mos Def & Pharoahe Monch
During the late 90’s there was a new wave of conscious rap and underground hip-hop that started to crossover into the mainstream. Many labels were responsible for helping to usher in these new and in some cases “renewed” artists. Rawkus Records was a staple in the Underground Hip-Hop scene as evidenced by its many compilations and roster of artists.
Two such albums for this discussion are both solo debuts from Mos Def, “Black On Both Sides,” and Pharoahe Monch, “Internal Affairs.” Both albums were well received and highly acclaimed. They were also both released a week apart. While it’s easy to argue that Mos’ album has been heard by more fans and deeper tracks, the legacy that both of these albums have left behind is undeniable. Below is the first single and video released for “Black On Both Sides.”
Mos Def “Black On Both Sides”
After the success of Black Star, Mos Def and Talib Kweli pursued solo careers. Mos Def assembled some of Hip-Hop’s great producers and upcoming beat makers for his debut album such as DJ Premier, Diamond D, Psycho Les of the Beatnuts and Ayatollah and 88-Keys. Speaking on various social and political concepts as well as maintaining his afro-centric themes, “Black On Both Sides” proved that Mos’ lyricism and imagery are the reasons he is a top mc in more than just the conscious rap circles.
Ms Fat Booty produced by Ayatollah
Pharoahe Monch “Internal Affairs”
Different from Organized Konfusions sounds of their first two releases, Pharoahe Monch broke out of the laidback style and blasted through the speakers with his biggest song “Simon Says.” Not as commercially successful as Mos Def’s “Black On Both Sides,” Monch’s debut still gets regular play and is often a slept on release from this era. The album featured Canibus, M.O.P., Busta Rhymes, Common and Talib Kweli, as well as production from Diamond D, The Alchemist, DJ Scratch and nearly half the album being produced by Pharoahe Monch himself.
“Simon Says” produced by Pharoahe Monch