Breakdown FM: Sucker Emcees Fallback-Pharaohe Monch is in the Building

May 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment


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Pharoahe Monch is the Truth-For Real
by Davey D

One of Hip Hop’s dopest emcees returns to the scene with a new album called ‘Desire’ after a 5-6 year hiatus. We know him we love him. It’s the one and only Pharoahe Monch. He is definitely the truth and a welcome change to the current landscape of Hip Hop.

We caught up with him over the weekend when he swung through the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. He had just arrived from Cochella Music Festival where he wrecked it with his live band and two singers Showbiz and Miss Maleena (I hope I got her name right) who are incredible. His show at DNA Lounge was on point and left everyone on a high that I’m sure most of us are still on. He reminded all of us just what Rakim meant when he said to ‘move the crowd’. He reminded all emcees in the audience just how high the bar should be if you expect to have impact. Its hard to go back to the crass material they offer on via these major corporations when you have Pharaohe Monch in the building.

First he kicked it with my boy Kevvy Kev of KZSU and went into detail about the horrific trials and tribulations he experienced over the past few years via these major record labels. To put it simply he was basically on lockdown or to quote Prince- ‘a slave to contracts and financial obligations’ as a result of unrecouped expenses. For those who aspire to get into this industry please do yourself a favor and learn this word -RECOUP. The end result for Pharaoh was his label troubles prevented him from teaming up with Eminem who desperatly wanted to sign him to his label.

So while Pharoahe went through years of legal wranglings he kept busy by touring with former Rawkus labelmates like Mos Def and Talib Kweli. He found a huge audience and a lot of love over in Europe. His current song ‘Push’ which has barely gotten any love here in the US is a chart topper across the pond. Go figure. During our interview, Pharoahe remarked how radio program directors here in the US constantly tell him how much they love his new song and how moving it is, but they just can’t seem to make it fit in the steady diet of minstrel pimp, gangsta, playa bullshit that they are hoisting upon the community day in and day out. (somebody let me know when the Bill O’Reillys of the world bring those folks on his show and jams them up for being irresponsible and cowardly).

In any case we had an engaging interview where Pharaohe sat down and talked to us about the importance of performing and delivering a good stage show. He feels its a lost art that needs to be taken more seriously. We also talked about the importance of staying relevant on issues and connecting to the pulse of the people and having that reflected in the music. He also went into depth about the recent call by Russell Simmons to ban certain words and how it would impact his range of expressions. We also talked about the new crop of emcees on the scene. Pharoahe explained that he’s been hanging in Detroit and has been impressed with artists like Guilty Simpson and producers Black Milk

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