W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Summary: The New York-based rapper known for his complex rhyming ability and lyrical social commentary releases his third studio album on Duck Down Records.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  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. Apr 14, 2011
    W.A.R. is Monch's blockbuster, a marathon sci-fi tale set in some grisly faraway cacotopia.
  3. Dec 7, 2011
    This strong, satisfying, often stunning third release proves he can deliver the goods.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. 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. With great sounds mixed in the unique songs and reputable accomplices on the album, this one is a gem. Expand
  2. NJR
    Mar 22, 2011
    3 out of 3, credit where credit is due, the guys a beast! Probably his most focused work yet, the production suited the themes of the album perfectly and his rhyming....well is it ever anything less than sublime? Since the first Organized Konfusion LP this dude has been in my list of top MC's and to be honest, I think he always will be. Expand
  3. Mar 23, 2011
    If you're into Queen's Bridge style/NYC Underground hip-hop, Pharoahe Monch's new album, W.A.R., is going to be a refreshing break from the Y.M.C.M. overrun airwaves. Pharoahe recalls the breaks, thoughtful lyrics, and energy that made his now old Organized Konfusion such a break out album. In a time where folks are more likely to download the singles and ignore the album, W.A.R. stands to be listened to from beginning to end to really appreciate what has happened on it...which is a top notch drop. Expand
  4. Mar 28, 2011
    Utterly amazing lyrically but the production takes away from a potential classic rap album. Alot of the beats sound uninspired and lack that professional touch that established producers possess. Pharoahe Monch strayed from them on this album and paid the price for an unclear reason. Nonetheless the album is still very good and caters to lovers of complex creative hip-hop lyricism at its finest. A must-have and a must-listen for Pharoahe's fans and hip-hop heads respectively. Expand
  5. 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, 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. Expand