Pharoahe Monch has never been one to dumb down to double his dollars, but that doesn't mean his lyrical ability has never led to mainstream acclaim. As part of the duo Organized Confusion, Monch won praise in the early '90s for his complex styles, but the group's albums sold poorly. When Monch left the group and hooked up with Rawkus Records to drop his solo debut, Internal Affairs, in 1999 he affirmed his ability to make a cohesive record, not just put intricate words together.

However, the album's big single "Simon Says" became both the bane of Monch's existence and the reason people stopped sleeping on him. The song was initially a surprise hit but then Monch got sued over using the Godzilla sample, which eventually led to the album being pulled off the shelves. Since then, Monch has slowly but surely released new material, including last year's W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), with his fourth album due out next year.