W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)


Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Buy On
  1. Mar 31, 2011
    Whether he's in onomatopoetic punch-line mode or scratching the Cee Lo end of his terrific range, Monch is hip-hop's superlative talent, and now he has a solo stripe to prove it.
  2. Mar 18, 2011
    The sheer ferocity of Monch's rhyming is more than enough to bridge any gaps and plow through any detours.
  3. Apr 14, 2011
    W.A.R. is Monch's blockbuster, a marathon sci-fi tale set in some grisly faraway cacotopia.
  4. Mar 22, 2011
    His bitterness about that fate may be the only black mark against this album--there's a tinge of resignation here and little effort to make himself more palatable to the masses.
  5. Dec 7, 2011
    This strong, satisfying, often stunning third release proves he can deliver the goods.
  6. Mar 31, 2011
    The strongest tracks here stand tall, ensuring Monch remains a powerful rap force.
  7. Mar 21, 2011
    Not necessarily a great narrative rapper, Monch's lyrical strength lies in his ability to flip phrases maniacally and tease out tangential theoretical connections through his staggered, pile-up rhyme schemes.
  8. Mar 18, 2011
    Full of political and social commentary, Pharoahe's W.A.R.-time performance will leave fans hoping he continues his trend of cutting the wait time between albums in half.
  9. Pharoahe Monch crafts an LP that not only serves as a protest to the United States' handling of the conflicts in the Middle East, but stands alone as a more than competent hip-hop record.
  10. Apr 12, 2011
    Ultimately, that is the problem with most of W.A.R., though. Monch is so busy adopting the typical backpacker agenda of putting himself at odds with the mainstream that he takes steps towards a new conformity instead of just destroying sh*t.
  11. Aug 4, 2011
    W.A.R. is only his third project in over ten years. If you're going to pursue quality over quantity you better deliver quality, and thankfully W.A.R. is nothing but quality.
  12. Mar 29, 2011
    A sobering state of the world address spoken with street eloquence and education, W.A.R. resumes Pharoahe's talismanic dictation above a packed battalion of guests as a failsafe spectacle.
  13. Mar 28, 2011
    An indie-release album that shines under lower stakes without sacrificing Monch's complexities or intelligence.
  14. Mar 22, 2011
    It is sad to finally see the unpredictable hero of lyricism finally write an album that is only good. I'll still be listening to this album for weeks, I just hope it stays as consistent as the man's other work has throughout my life.
  15. Mar 21, 2011
    On W.A.R., the Queens MC is still in a linguistic fervor, rapping about being in the streets "like catalytic converters" on "Clap (one day)" and comparing himself to a preacher with a ".38 snub-nose" on "Let My People Go."
  16. Mar 23, 2011
    If you value the merits of a singular flow, then what Monch does on this album can redeem nearly anything. Or at least make something likable out of an album that could've been just mediocre.
  17. Q Magazine
    Jun 9, 2011
    Undoubtedly ambitious, drawing on soul, jazz and squalling rock, the best moments keep the focus on Monche's own voice, with Shine's radical poetry reminiscent of veteran firebrands The Last Poets. [May 2011, p.112]
  18. Mar 31, 2011
    W.A.R. is not necessarily a death knell for Monch, he's simply too talented for that. But it's definitely not an album that feels like it took four years to make, either.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jan 21, 2016
    another masterpiece by Pharoahe Monch. great production, marvelous wordplay, clever metaphors and incredible guest appearances that can keepanother masterpiece by Pharoahe Monch. great production, marvelous wordplay, clever metaphors and incredible guest appearances that can keep up with him on his own album. never get sick of listening to it. another classic added with his past works, Full Review »
  2. Apr 20, 2012
    Anytime I think of underrated rappers, Pharoahe Monch is usually the first name that pops in my head. He is criminally underrated, mainlyAnytime I think of underrated rappers, Pharoahe Monch is usually the first name that pops in my head. He is criminally underrated, mainly because up until this album he had only released 2 albums in 10 years. It's a shame, because lyrically Monch is one of the best rappers of all time. Of course, mainstream success isn't based on how lyrically gifted you are, but rather your production as well as WHAT it is you rap about. If you aren't rapping about money, cars, and b***es you won't sell many records. Pharoahe is clearly aware of this, and a lot this album is an assault on the mainstream in general. If you're a fan of "real hip-hop" like myself, than you'll likely embrace this album with open arms. From the intro, it's clear that the theme of this album is a fictional apolocalypse set in the near future. The opening track "Calculated Amalgamation" sets this tone properly. The beat is heavy, loud, and well... apocolyptic. After this track though is "Evolve" which is one of the best tracks on the album. This is when Monch really starts to flex his lyrical muscle, as well as his flawless delivery and flow. Having great, meaningful lyrics is one thing, but nobody delivers a verse quite like Monch. One of my favorite moments of Evolve is when he raps, "the legacy by which the entire world remembers me/quote, do not edit me; let it be said/ I'm top 5 ALL TIME or/ we know that's misstated it's so overused/so here's an overview of why I'm 6 feet over you/and a million fans think this statement is overdue/and pardon if it sounds a little wheezy/not Wayne' muthafu**a, I got asthama it's not easy". It's a headspinning display of wordplay that few rappers can pull off. I've listened to this song more times than I can count, and I just discovered that Monch makes a Pan's Labrynth reference when he raps, "I speak of world peace, wars, famine, and flood/watching Pan's Labrynth while I'm unraveling bud." There aren't too many rappers that would have the slightest clue about what that movie is. Monch is simply way over most people's heads, and that's why I love him. He has zero concern or mainstream success or radioplay. He spends another song "Hitman" assaulting the mainstream, pop culture, and the people who are obsessed with this. "Let My People Go" is another one of my favorite tracks. On this song Monch takes the role of a preacher, complete with the diction and delivery you would expect from a passionate preacher. Only Monch could do this so effortlessly. The following two tracks after Let My People Go are also excellent. "Shine" and "Halie Selassie Karate" are both great in their own way. The final two tracks of the album are a strong way to close the album. "The Grand Illusion (Circa 1973)" is a bold track that features Citizen Cope. It has a powerful entry point on Monch's first verse. "I rediscovered by soul between the lines inside my journal/trapped inside a pen state of mind, Joe Paterno". So many rappers beat that structure of a bar to death, but Monch does it without being corny at all. The final track "Still Standing" featuring Jill Scott, has Monch reflecting on his childhood and struggles with asthma. It's another example of how Monch is still down to earth despite being a fairly successful rapper for the past decade. There is no ego on this album. The album is far from perfect though. The title track features Immortal Technique and it is godawful. It sounds like a really bad M.O.P. song (for the record... I can't stand M.O.P.). Assassins is another overrated track in my opinion. Royce da 5'9 and Jean Grae are very poor versions of Monch as far as lyrics go, so they seem a little out of place and overmatched on this song. Despite these 2 low points, and a tone that just sounds a liiiitttle too bitter at times, this is a strong album. It isn't as good as Internal Affairs or Desire, but it's still a solid album for Monch to add to his limited catalog of music. Hopefully, it won't be another 5 years before we hear from Monch again. Full Review »
  3. Apr 12, 2011
    A truely great rap album. Pharoahe demonstrates his lyrical ability and shows he has real talent, and hopefully staying power in hip-hop. WithA truely great rap album. Pharoahe demonstrates his lyrical ability and shows he has real talent, and hopefully staying power in hip-hop. With great sounds mixed in the unique songs and reputable accomplices on the album, this one is a gem. Full Review »