iHipHop Exclusive Interview With Pharoahe Monch: King Of Kings

Written by Serge Fleury

Friday, November 16th, 2012 at 1:45 pm
Views: 3624


Most people might consider Pharoahe Monch to be Hip-Hop’s biggest enigma. The main reason has to do with the fact that he’s amassed a cult-like fan base, after only releasing three studio albums within a 12-year span.

If you talk to him directly, he’ll tell you that the red tape of the music industry has hindered his progress, ever since debuting with Internal Affairs back in 1999.

But last year, the lyricist who undoubtedly has the English language in a verbal vice grip, showed just why fans and critics haven’t written off, with the release of his W.A.R. album.

Now, the native of Queens, New York sets forth on another journey, as he gets set to unleash P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to a hungry society, that is in desperate need of food for thought. A continuation of the W.A.R. album, P.T.S.D. delves deeper into the mind of the man who first came onto the scene with Organized Konfusion.

But as always, stories like this are always better told straight from the person who’s lived it. It’s time for you to hear the rest from the man himself.

 

 

iHipHop.com: Right now, you have your upcoming project, P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) slated to be released soon… So what can people expect to hear from it?

Pharoahe Monch: Yeah man, it’s an EP, and it follows up the W.A.R. album… It follows it from what happens after they come back from war…

The W.A.R. album was about the struggle, and sh!t that I was going through; and P.T.S.D. is the aftermath of that story… It’s about when I was depressed, when money was low, and just real sh!t… I don’t see too many artists getting into that, so it’s real dope, man…

iHipHop.com: So how do you feel about your journey thus far? As for being on the indie route… Would you ever align yourself with a major?

Pharoahe Monch: I’m not interested in being an artist without my company… We’re doing something innovative, and it’s not just about putting out records…

We’re doing actual film, and actual video… War Media is going to be real content, not just people putting up videos. It’s going to be well known writers writing about all subjects…

iHipHop.com: When you first came out with Internal Affairs, it took almost 10 years to release Desire, and then another 4 years after that to release W.A.R. Now, you have P.T.S.D. coming out sooner than what people are used to waiting for, when it comes to you releasing material… So can people expect you to start releasing material quicker now?

Pharoahe Monch: Definitely… I really feel like my pen is kind of hot right now… With me being independent, it’s going to be quicker… A lot of those issues before was about the timing… It was about legal issues, and I don’t think people realized that… I was actually trying to get out of my contract…

Internal Affairs dropped back when records were selling, and I sold 400,000 records… That was before the record got pulled off the shelf, and that was my largest selling album to date… They weren’t trying to let me go, and so then I went on the run…

But then I go back into the music, and then I was on tour, and I had a fan base still… At that point, my whole mentality was like “F*ck this, I’m getting money…” My manager was saying that I just couldn’t hold out on the music like that, and that it’s not Godly to create, and not give to fans…  That’s how long ago the industry started changing… So then people were like, “Yo, we don’t want to hear this legality sh!t, give us music…”

iHipHop.com: Speaking of giving music out, standard practice now is for an artist to release free mixtapes to their fans… But you’ve never done anything like that… Any reason why?

Pharoahe Monch: I think for a lot people; that works for them… It’s good for them… But I truly believe that with some artists, that just cheapens their brand… Especially if you’re not going to grind… I feel that signed artists can do mixtapes at a higher level, and have someone like Rihanna on their mixtape…

We use the term “mixtape” loosely… I’m from an era where a mixtape was a DJ blending records… Then 50 [Cent] came along, and was like, “I’m rhyming over stuff that isn’t cleared, but I’m letting you see just how nice I am…” Now it seems that mixtape are million dollar projects…

These dudes can afford to give away a free product that has crazy named producers because they understand, and the label understands that they need to keep things flowing… Right now, we’re going to be putting out music sooner, and it’s going to be high level sh!t… I’m trying to give you me…

iHipHop.com: I also wanted to talk about your ghostwriting… How did you first even get into that?

Pharoahe Monch: I did it early on in my career when I was with Organized Konfusion… But I didn’t like the sh!t back then… But it was gratifying to know that people recognized your writing, and wanted to bring me into projects… When I was approached by Puff, I took it as a challenge…

The thing I loved about Puff was like he was like, “Yo, I keep my ear to the street, and that’s how I know who Pharoahe Monch is…” “That’s how I know who everybody is… You can’t be a master of pop culture, unless you know these things…” One of the first things he said to me was that he went to a show that I did, and he saw how the people were feeling it, and that he wanted to try and get some of that energy…

He didn’t want me to change what I do… The thing that I got from Puff is that he allows his artists to dig a little deeper than they would normally dig… With me doing rewrites, and then having to give that sh!t away, I kind of was like, “F*ck that…”

That’s when I knew I had something that I cared about… A lot of those verses, I was like, “Man, sh!t… I gotta give this sh!t up?!” [Laughing]… That’s a beautiful thing, but it’s not an easy thing when you’re an artist… I done turned down a lot of opportunities based on how I revere my art…

 

 

 

 

 


  • http://twitter.com/iPhoneHelpOrg iPhone Help

    I like that cat. He’s cool as hell.

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