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20 July, 2004@12:00 am

     If it wasn’t for Prince Po’s guest spot on Danger Mouse & Jemini’s Ghetto Pop Life last year (“Copy Cats”) it would have been safe to assume for most heads that Po fell off the face of the earth. Compared to his ex-Organized Konfusion partner in rhyme, Pharaohe Monch, Po has taken a bit longer to truly emerge as a soloist. But the wait for his proper introduction on wax is over. Prince Po’s poised debut, The Slickness, serves as a true reflection of his longevity in hip-hop–even if he’s been staying below the radar for so long.

      While this Queens, NY native is no longer spitting super-rapid-fire raps like he did in his early Organized Konfusion days, his composed, street-wise flow sounds so slick over the banging production of J-Zone, Madlib, Danger Mouse and himself. The fact that such a high-caliber roster of beatsmiths stepped up to assist Po is a testament to his status. As Po explains on the self-produced cut, “Grown Ass Man”, he doesn’t have time to waste on the mic. With the exception of the out of place club joint, “Bump Bump” (featuring Raekwon), his maturity on the mic is highly evident throughout this album. Take the sleek ‘n’ soulful joint “Love Thang”, where Po proclaims, “I network only with those that strive for better.” This album may be guest-heavy, but Po is certainly in good company.

    While fellow Queens-rep J-Zone may not be the poster child for conscious rap, he proves to be Po’s best cohort–especially instrumentally. The hard-hitting, J-Zone-produced “It’s Goin’ Down”, sees Po expertly take on Mayor Bloomberg and the state of the world on the strongest song of the album. J-Zone then teams up with Po again alongside J-Ro of Liks, Tha as these MCs reminisce about drunken nights on “Meet Me At The Bar”. As Prince Po keeps his ear to the street he proves he can hold his own whether on the serious tip or the lighthearted one.

    Some stubborn OK fans may argue that Po has lost a little steam along the way, but this grown ass man has reintroduced himself like few MCs from the golden era have. And thanks to contributions from hi-profile producers like J-Zone and Danger Mouse (who oversaw this project), younger hip-hop heads should be able to appreciate Po’s effort as much as those introduced to him during the Organized Konfusion days of “Fudge Pudge” and “Stress”. Let the bridge be gapped. 

  Mixtape D.L.
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