Friday, 4 February 2011

INTERVIEW: Pharoahe Monch

Above: Work from  Artist Jeremy Geddes

Pharoahe Monch, This Means W.A.R. Interview


Line Em up:


I put this together out of love for Pharoahe Monch’s talent. I’ve known Monch for more than 15 years and since the first time I heard him spit I knew how incredible he was. It’s interesting how we meet, it was due to a tragic occurrence the death of Paul C the talented producer who left the world way to soon. Monch and Prince Poetry were in a band called STP ( Simply To Positive) that Paul had produced. I liked they’re stuff and they went on to become theseminal group Organized Konfusion a few seasons later.
I always thought Monch and Organized Konfusion were outstanding. His level of rapping was always light years ahead of most and still is. Once upon a time I tried to sign Monch to my label Stimulated but he got away. I always wondered if the Loud the machine that was my distributor at the time would have gotten behind Simon Sez would he have gotten the recognition he deserved.
I saw him tear it down at this years SXSW I can’t wait to hear W.A.R the record he called unapologetically lyrical and the best cohesive lyrical record he’s ever done.

Pharoahe Monch doesn’t have a huge catalog, but his potency on the mic is immeasurable. As one-half of the ’90s underground duo Organized Konfusion, Monch and his partner Prince Po dropped three notable LPs beginning with their 1991 self-titled debut.
After the group’s last album, 1997’s The Equinox, Monch embarked on a solo mission two years later with the release of Internal Affairs on Rawkus Records. The album, led by its fiery lead single “Simon Says,” cemented Pharoahe as a top-notch lyricist and a force to be reckoned with. His next project Desire was released after a lengthy hiatus in 2007 on SRC/Universal Motown, but after he grew disappointed with the performance of the record, Monch refused to re-up with a major label.
This fall the Queens veteran will instead be dropping his upcoming solo LP, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), independently on his own company, W.A.R. Media, through Duck Down Records. It’s been three years since fans last heard from Monch, but the man is ready to speak so listen up or get the fuck out.
Husky Brown: It seems that over the past few years the term lyricist has taken on a negative connotation. As someone highly regarded for his lyricism, do you agree?
Pharoahe Monch: It has. We’re facing all of these different mind control issues where the powers that be are trying to shape what the up-and-coming artists think about the music sensibility of hip-hop so that they can have more control over it. But there is no bigger example of lyricists selling than Jay-Z and Eminem. But yet they try to push that, “if you’re a lyricist, then you can’t make viable music in the marketplace.” And that shit is a lie… And when that shit cuts through on the airwaves people are able to tell. Like Sean Price, or like Jay Electronica’s [“Exhibit C”] record cut through. When you hear them you got a whole city like, “What the fuck is this?”
Husky Brown: Yeah, it’s exciting to see lyric-driven hip-hop break through like that.
Pharoahe Monch: Now this is a beautiful time in music. I was doing it for a while, I remember a time when the major radio stations weren’t playing hip-hop at all and we were on WHBI and Mr. Magic and Supreme Team and listening to these stations for our hip-hop. I can hear the most commercial artists going harder right now at their skill set then they were five years ago because records are not selling and muthafuckas are like, “I need to put a better product out.” I give the credit to the fans that were like, “Yo, this shit has got to change.” Great commercial records and great pop records are great records. When they’re great, they’re great—I love them. When they are bad, then they’re bad and I hate ‘em. It’s the same thing with the underground.

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