Review: Organik Poisons - A Chemical Monkeywrench
The heaviest Hip Hop collaboration we've witnessed so far comes fresh from New York collective Organik Poisons. A sister company of UK based record label Heavy Crates, the strictly vinyl connoisseurs; Organik Poisons is an long-running partnership between New York heads Johnny Cement, Xray Da Mindbenda, Bazooka Joe, EZ Dave and maestro turntablist and Heavy Crates founder, 2 Kool Tony. The thesis behind the collaboration is in the title; organically produced poison. No back and forth emailing - just hitting a studio, bonding and recording material the old-fashioned way. As a tribute to this - the chemistry of Organik Poisons remains true even after a decade since first collaborating.
Over the last few years, Organik Poisons have become renowned worldwide for releasing exceptional Hip Hop projects as individuals but A Chemical Monkeywrench is their debut album as a collective. A 20 track project which has been three years in the making; it boasts some impressive features from the likes of Conway, Finsta Bundy, King Cesar alongside cameos from homegrown talent in Burgundy Blood & Mankub. Naturally, 2 Kool Tony handles scratches throughout, with a brief break courtesy of EZ Dave. Prepare for real rap genius, underpinned by pure boom-bap and classical instrumentation.
Let’s get into it. Beginning with Organik Intro the music engages with the listener by easing them in with a chilled, relaxing beat laced with samples describing definitions of both ‘organic’ and ‘poison’. This leads into the unnerving opener called Bring Forth Spirits, whereby listeners get a true taste of the what they’re in for. The hard-hitting spitting commences when Spit Gemz touches mic with intimidating intelligence, before Eff Yo comes through with engrossing flows until GS Advance follows to finish with flair. Then Conway stands alone in 50 Shots, backed by a stone cold X-Ray Da Mindbenda production. Touching on first-hand subjects such as hedonism and street politics, this track was released on Heavy Crates and was the last independent release by Conway before he signed to Shady Records last year. As such, the single has gained nearly legendary status and for good reason - it’s a classic. Next up is Hindsight, featuring SmooVth on another solo tip, spitting straight-up gangster shit with an educational, motivational purpose over an instrumental that is smooth as hell.
Knickerbockers is mad rugged, an instant reload. Participating rappers Madman, Mitchell Aimss & M3 narrate their mind states as they contribute perspectives lifted from their unique streetwise experiences. The next standout track is Supa Fly featuring Finsta Bundy, who are back with a bang after a quiet hiatus, proving they are still capable of captivating old and new audiences, spitting pure positivity with plenty of optimism to match. It’s followed by another headbanger called Kung Fu, a deadly lyrical onslaught between Kamackeris, Kwest, Kev Rock & King Cesar back-to-back over another jaw-dropping instrumental that needs hearing just to comprehend its craziness.
No-one’s playing with Junclassic when he goes in as hard as he does on Orbit; cooly demonstrating his untouchable lyrical finesse. He is followed by an always welcome Smoke Break, whereby Hosannah & Sedrick Avenue spit rhymes relatable for anyone reading this high right now - go check it. Next is a deeper track, No New News which sees S haBib speak on living an illicit lifestyle and his contemplations of the realities existing around him. It spins off into another turntabling spectacle, called Organik Interlude at the midway stage.
Kicking off with a haiku, Respect Fire is not to be underestimated as Queens & Brooklyn bad guys Spit Gemz & Mitchell Aimss go full savage mode on unsuspecting listeners, complete with more crazy cuts from 2 Kool Tony. A definite highlight. Afterwards the beat becomes soulful on Fly By Nature featuring Undeniable & Preacher Man, lyrically depicting their determinism for self-development and success without a second thought for haters, who only watch them get greater. An anthem for the aspirational. Then Kev Rock starts off Welcome Home, getting religious with his rhymes as he relieves haunting experiences from the streets. Spiega relates as he speaks on similar topics, dropping knowledge from what he learned from it. Kong finishes the track spiritually, with intellectual wordplay that takes at least two listens to comprehend fully.
Too many flows demand a reload on Kwest’s solo spectacular Outta Sight, with a funky bass bumping in the beat underlapping. It’s followed by another solo track by Jaiquan on Cinemax, dropping an impressive two minute escapade of self-biographical rhymes, letting listeners know the life he’s living and how it drives the untouchable mindstate propelling him forward. Next comes yet another highlight called Smooth On Wax, the instrumental is as mind-bendingly addictive as the rhymes from Evolve & Junclassic - a must listen.
Hosannah returns to touch mic alone on Zonin’, a track which depicts the troubles and conflicts he’s encountered, reflecting on what he’s learnt having survived the processes. Track 19 is a remix of Burgundy Blood’s Elephant Breath single, featuring Sadat X who is recognisable to many for being a member of the Brand Nubian alternative hip-hop collective. The melodic instrumental is certainly more captivating, elevating both the vibe and tempo of the track effectively. The finale is refreshingly Ferocious, a fantastic send off featuring Agallah, SmooVth & Spit Gemz on a straight up party popping, G checking tip to finish. The vinyl for this single was released on Heavy Crates in 2017.
Fire from start to finish, A Chemical Monkeywrench relives the golden era of gangster rap, untainted by synths and autotune. This is far from a commercial release; a product created for passion not profit live from the urban underbelly of the New York underground. However, the global success this record has seen since the release shows that there is still a market for fans of authentic hip-hop music. Whilst there is little about this album to cite as innovative; it’s a testament to those who stayed true to the matured sounds many grew up with. If you’re sick of trap and mumble rappers, kick back to this album and remember what truly made hip-hop great.
Words by Evo