Saturday Day Focus – Focus On The Mighty Pharoahe Monch

Pharoahe Monch

Background information

Birth name – Troy Donald Jamerson
Born October 31, 1972 (age 40)
Origin – South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, United States
Genres – Hip hop
Years active – 1987–present
Labels – Hollywood/Priority Records
Rawkus/SRC Records
Duck Down Records/W.A.R. Media, LLC
Associated acts – Organized Konfusion, Hilltop Hoods, Busta Rhymes, Adam F, Shabaam Sahdeeq, The HRSMN, Talib Kweli, Common, Mos Def, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Mr. Porter, Styles P, Nate Dogg, Showtyme, Royce da 5’9″, Canibus, Ras Kass

Troy Donald Jamerson (born October 31, 1972), better known by his stage name Pharoahe Monch is an African-American rapper. He is known for his complex lyrics, complex delivery, and internal and multisyllabic rhyme schemes.[1]

Biography

Pharoahe Monch’s name is derived from the monkey doll Monchhichi. After receiving a bad haircut, which left Monch looking like a “chimpanzee”, girls in Monch’s class at the High School of Art and Design began calling him “Monchhichi”, which was later shortened to “Monch”. Monch adopted the “Pharoahe” prefix after meeting future Organized Konfusion partner Prince Po.[citation needed]

Monch released three albums as part of the rap duo Organized Konfusion with partner Prince Poetry: The self-titled Organized Konfusion, Stress: The Extinction Agenda and The Equinox. The duo handled a large amount of production on these albums themselves. All albums received positive critical reviews, but moderate sales. As a result, the duo split up after recording their final album The Equinox in 1997. Prince Poetry has since denied the possibility of an Organized Konfusion reunion.

Pharoahe Monch then signed to Rawkus Records, an indie label. After making several guest appearances on albums like the best-selling Rawkus compilation Soundbombing II, Monch’s much-hyped debut, Internal Affairs was released in 1999. The first single of the album, “Simon Says”, became a hit single, peaking at No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also featured in the 2000 cinematic releases Charlie’s Angels and Boiler Room. Despite its success, the song caused controversy when Monch was later sued for the song’s use of a sample from Akira Ifukube’s Gojira Tai Mosura for the hook. The uncleared sample use caused a halting in his album’s distribution.

After Internal Affairs and the controversy from his hit song Pharoahe would not release another solo project for several years. He did still make some songs and guest appearances however. In 2000 he featured with Mos Def and Nate Dogg on the hit song “Oh No” from the Rawkus compilation record Lyricist Lounge 2. He contributed the song “Fuck You” to the Training Day soundtrack in 2001, and rapped the theme song to Madden NFL 2002. In 2003 Pharoahe released his final single through Rawkus Records, “Agent Orange”, a war inspired song which revisited the 1991 Organized Konfusion track “Releasing Hypnotical Gases”.

Pharoahe is also affiliated with the rap group The HRSMN. Although not a member of the group (there are only four real members), he is constantly linked to someday join the group when/if they ever expand.[citation needed]

Pharoahe Monch in 2009

There were rumors his next album, at first tentatively titled Innervisions, was to be released under Denaun Porter’s new Shady Records imprint Runyon Ave. They reached out to Stevie Wonder and were at the beginning processes of recording the album[2] but apparently the deal fell through; Monch later announced a deal with Street Records Corporation, home of Wu-Tang Clan, David Banner and Terror Squad. In June 2007 Monch released his second solo album Desire to critical acclaim. Monch said about the album; “…it’s very soulful, very gospel, a fresh, new sound for me.” The album’s lead single was the self-produced track “Push”, with “Let’s Go” as its B-Side. The song’s music video and single were released in late September 2006. Pharoahe Monch released a second music video entitled “When the Gun Draws” at a Brooklyn music festival in February 2007. The track was inspired by a song he did with Prince Po entitled “Stray Bullet” which was featured on the Stress: The Extinction Agenda album. A final video was made for the title track “Desire” in late 2007. It was directed by New Zealand director Andy Morton and shot on the Rock the Bells tour with full band. The video features both MeLa Machinko and of course, a huge performance from Showtyme.

On July 9, 2010, Pharoahe Monch allowed hip hop website hiphopdx.com to leak a song from his forthcoming album W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). The song was called “Shine” and featured vocals by MeLa Machinko and was also produced by Diamond D. On February 14, 2010, another song from Monch was leaked, which is called “Clap (One Day)”, produced by M-Phazes.

Pharoahe Monch released his third solo album W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) in March 2011. It featured guest appearances from Jill Scott, Styles P, Citizen Cope, Jean Grae, Royce da 5’9″, Immortal Technique, Vernon Reid, Phonte, Mr. Porter, Mela Machinko, Showtyme & DJ Boogie Blind.[3] Pharoahe revealed that the album is a “throwback to 1993, ’94 hip-hop” and featured production by Exile, Marco Polo, M-Phazes, Fatin, Diamond D, Mike Loe, Samiyam, Adam Deitch, Eric Krasno and Pharoahe Monch himself.[3] Four singles have been released from the album: “Shine”, “Clap (One Day)”, “Black Hand Side”, and “Assassins”. A ten-year anniversary re-issue of Internal Affairs will also be released featuring a documentary about the making of the album.[4]

In 2011, Pharoahe Monch was a judge on the Ultimate MC TV show alongside with Royce da 5’9″, Sean Price, Planet Asia, and Organik.[5]

Rapping technique

Pharoahe Monch is acclaimed for his complex rapping technique[1] – Allmusic says he has, “a reputation as one of underground hip hop’s pre-eminent lyricists, crafting intricate and intelligent raps.”[6]Kool Moe Dee ranks him at 26 in his best MCs of all time list, from his book, There’s a God on the Mic.[7]Kool Moe Dee notes: “Pharoahe Monch is like an eloquent linguistics professor moonlighting as a rhyme serial killer terrorist, challenging the listeners’ I.Q. while daring him or her to keep up.”[7]

Monch compares writing and recording his lyrics to writing and filming a movie – in the book How to Rap he says he will ‘punch-in’ vocals so he can “retake some things, just like a film”,[8] and he ‘rewrites’ lyrics, saying he will “go back as a screenwriter and rewrite scenes and leave more to the imagination.”[9]

For his biggest hit, “Simon Says”, he comments that he wrote the choruses before he wrote the verses,[10] and fellow rapper and collaborator O.C. notes that Monch will write single lines down and then use them five years later.[11] His vocal delivery is inspired by Jazz music and musicians such as John Coltrane.[12]

Discography

Group albums
With Organized Konfusion:

Album information

Organized Konfusion

Released: October 29, 1991

Certification: None
Label: Hollywood Basic Records
Singles: “Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken?”/”The Rough Side of Town”, “Fudge Pudge”/”Walk Into the Sun”
Stress: The Extinction Agenda
Released: August 16, 1994
Certification: None
Label: Hollywood Basic
Singles: “Stress”/”Keep It Koming”, “Bring It On”

The Equinox

Released: September 23, 1997
Certification: None
Label: Priority
Singles: “Somehow, Someway”/”Soundman”/”Numbers”/”9x’s out of 10”
Solo albums

Album information
Internal Affairs

Released: October 19, 1999
Billboard 200 chart position: No. 41
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: No. 6
Singles: “Simon Says”/”Behind Closed Doors”, “The Light”/”Right Here (Remix)”

Desire

Released: June 26, 2007
U.S. Sales: 12,200 (First week)
Billboard 200 chart position: No. 58
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: No. 13
Singles: “Push”/”Let’s Go”, “Desire”/”When The Gun Draws”, “Body Baby”

W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)[4][13][14]

Released: March 22, 2011
U.S. Sales: 9,600 (First week)
Billboard 200 chart position: No. 54
R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: No. 14
Singles: “Shine”, “Clap (One Day)”, “Black Hand Side”, “Assassins”
EPs
2013: P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Mixtapes

The Awakening. Released December 2006. The Awakening was Pharoahe Monch’s first and only official mixtape, released prior to Desire.[15]

Singles

1999: “Simon Says”
2000: “The Light”
2001: “Fuck You”
2002: “The Life”
2003: “Agent Orange”
2007: “Push”
2007: “Let’s Go”
2007: “Body Baby”
2010: “Shine”
2011: “Clap (One Day)”
2011: “Black Hand Side”
2011: “Assassins”
2012: “Damage”
2013: “Stand Your Ground (Travyon Martin Tribute)”[16]

Guest appearances

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name

Title Year Other artist(s)Album

“Live from the DJ Stretch Armstrong Show with your host Bobbito The Barber”1998Black Thought, Common, AbsoluteLyricist Lounge, Volume One

“WWIII”1999Shabaam SahdeeqSoundbombing II

“Mayor”N/A

“Lyrical Fluctuation”DJ Spinna, Jigmastas, Talib Kweli, Shabaam SahdeeqThe Beyond Real Experience

“Dirty Decibels”The High & MightyHome Field Advantage

“Take Me Home”Polyrhythm AddictsRhyme Related

“The Anthem” (Heavyweight remix)Sway & King Tech, Eminem, RZA, Tech N9ne, Xzibit, Kool G Rap, Chino XL, KRS-OneThis or That

“Turnablist Anthem”Rob SwiftThe Ablist

“Innovations”SaukratesThe Underground Tapes

“Livin’ It Up”Various ArtistsNext Friday Soundtrack

“I’ll Collabo”2000Cella Dwellas, Prince PoThe Last Shall Be First

“Kenny Rogers – Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate”Wyclef JeanThe Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book

“What Am I”Antipop Consortium, L.I.F.E. LongTragic Epilogue

“Ghost Weed Skit 1″De La SoulArt Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump

“Horsemen”Canibus2000 B.C. (Before Can-I-Bus)

“Connect”DJ Hurricane, Xzibit, GippDon’t Sleep

“Oh No”Mos Def, Nate DoggLyricist Lounge 2

2001: “Fuck You” (Training Day (soundtrack))

2001: “I Pledge Allegiance” (from the Nate Dogg album Music and Me)

2001: “Last Dayz” (from the Adam F album Kaos: The Anti-Acoustic Warfare )

2002: “Madden 2002 Theme” (from the video game Madden NFL 2002)

2002: “Guerilla Monsoon Rap (feat. Black Thought)” (from the Talib Kweli album Quality)

2002: “The Life (featuring Styles P)” and “Round & Round (Remix)”, (from Soundbombing III)

2002: “The X (Y’all Know The Name) (featuring Xzibit, Inspectah Deck and Skillz)” (from the X-Ecutioners album Built From Scratch)

2002: “H! Vltg3 (featuring Evidence and DJ Babu)” (from the Linkin Park album Reanimation)

2002: “Frontline (featuring Prince Po, Mike Zoot and F.T.)” (from the El Da Sensei album Relax Relate Release)

2002: “Murda 1 Case (featuring KK)” (from the DJ Quik album Under Tha Influence)

2002: “See What I See” (from the Ras Kass album Goldyn Chyld)

2002: “Talking to You (feat. Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Rah Digga & A-Butta)” (Rawkus Single)

2003: “Oblivion” (from the Aimee Allen album I’d Start A Revolution (If I Could Get Up In the Morning))

2003: “What is the Law” (Oz Soundtrack)

2004: “Just Do It” (from the Pete Rock album Soul Survivor II)

2005: “It Ain’t The Money” (from the Macy Gray album The Very Best of Macy Gray)

2005; “Evaridae” (from the O.C. album Starchild)

2005: “New World Symphony” (from the Miri Ben-Ari album The Hip-Hop Violinist)

2006: “Fish Filet” (from the Sa-Ra double-single The Second Time Around)

2006: “Book Of Judges” (Marc Eckō’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Soundtrack)

2006; “Loose Ends (feat. Justin Timberlake & will.i.am)” (from the Sérgio Mendes album Timeless)

2006: “Love” (from the J Dilla album The Shining)

2007: “Push” in videogame NBA Street Homecourt

2007: “Rehab (Remix)” (feat. Jay-Z) (from Amy Winehouse album Back to Black)

2007: “Reachin'” (from the Polyrhythm Addicts album Break Glass)

2008: “Apocalypse RMX” (from the Immortal Technique album The 3rd World)

2008: “The Matrix (feat. Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price & DJ Premier)” (from the Black Milk album Tronic)

2009: “Classic Example” (from Hilltop Hoods album State of the Art)

2009: “Salute” (from Slaughterhouse’s self-titled album Slaughterhouse)

2009: “One Shot” (from the KRS-One & Buckshot album Survival Skills)

2009: “Dollaz & Sense” (with RZA) (from The Black Keys’ album Blakroc)

2009: “Back and Then” (from the Prince Po EP X-Files)

2010: “Let U Live” (from the Consequence mixtape Movies On Demand)

2011: “We Go Off” (from the Phonte album Charity Starts At Home)

2011: “Children” (from the Styles P album Master of Ceremonies)

2012: “Death March (remix)” (feat. Stat Quo) (from the ¡Mayday! digital single)

2012: “Black Out” Ghostface Killah, Styles P

2012 “Alright” Dj Static, Nat Ill & Temu. (From the CD disk 2 “Rolig Under Pres”)

2012: “BBQ Sauce” Sean Price Mic Tyson

Red Everything Movement

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