Five Incredible Pharoahe Monch Verses You May Have Missed

Categories: Pharoahe Monch

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HDShootsPhotos via Wikimedia Commons
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Today, April 15th, lauded rap innovator Pharoahe Monch takes the stage at B.B. King for the release party of his new album PTSD. Along with his years as one-half of celebrated rap duo Organized Konfusion, Monch has further cemented his legacy with a series of solo records and scene-stealing guest appearances which have earned a devoted fanbase that's followed him from his years at Rawkus to his current run with Duck Down.

With such a prolifically potent output, it's understandable if you missed one or two of his excellent appearances. To right this wrong,  here's five excellent Pharoahe Monch verses you may have missed.

See also: Pharoahe Monch is the World's New Rap Therapist

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Pharoahe Monch On Jean Grae's "Kill Screen," Pop Lockin' Wednesdays, And The Freedom Tower

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Pharoahe Monch

Editor's note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar will ask local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.

The mighty Pharoahe Monch rolls with nearly 80,000 Twitter followers and yesterday blessed his faithful following with a new single, "Damage." Penned from the perspective of a bullet, the Queens lifer's song is something akin to the third installment in a run that has previously taken in "Stray Bullet" and "When The Gun Draws." It also heads up his soon-coming P.T.S.D. project. After stalking Monch's timeline, here's his Twitter talk about misquoting Gwen Stefani, his secret Pop Lockin' Wednesdays, and his very particular eating habits while watching sports games.


See Also:

- Tweets Is Watching: Skyzoo
- Pharoahe Monch's Desire
- Live: Revive Big Band And Pharoahe Monch Come Together At Blue Note


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Live: Revive Big Band And Pharoahe Monch Come Together At The Blue Note

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K. Leander Williams/tru2blupix​
Revive Big Band with Pharoahe Monch
Blue Note
Monday, August 27

Better than: Thinking about the GOP convention.

"Simon says, get the fuck up! Y'all heard me, get the FUCK up!!" Street versifier Pharoahe Monch has yelled those words countless times since "Simon Says" broke him big back at the turn of the millennium, but the most ironic thing about hearing them last night at the Blue Note wasn't so much the context (hip-hopper at jazz club) as the constraints built into the endeavor. The seated crowd—signaling its adulation with arm waving as soon as Monch's cameo with the Revive Big Band had begun three tunes earlier—would no doubt have been on their feet if the Blue Note's floor plan allowed it. Instead, shouts from throughout the club subbed for freedom of movement.

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The Top Six Game Show Appearances By Rappers

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The news of a rapper-packed revamp of Hollywood Squares has been greeted positively, not least because everyone has been able to join in the fun of Googling the demographic term "malennials" to find out if they are going to be allowed to watch the show. It's also allowed some people speculate on which special secret rapper will get to occupy the show's hallowed center square! So before Hip-Hop Squares premieres next month, here's a look back on past instances of pre-fame and established rappers testing their mettle (mental and otherwise) on TV game shows.

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Amy Winehouse's Top Ten Hip-Hop Collaborations

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Rappers loved Amy Winehouse. The British warbler might not have collaborated with rap chaps to the extent that Mary J Blige has, but when she passed away earlier this year she did so leaving behind a discernible trail of hip-hop goodies. And the songs suggest there was a genuine bond and shared mentality between Winehouse and her rap suitors, unlike many a cobbled-together rapper-meets-singer tryst.

The posthumous project Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which has input from longtime Winehouse producer Salaam Remi and guest spots from Nas and ?uestlove, comes out this week. Here are Winehouse's ten most persuasive dalliances with the rap world.

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Ten Hip-Hop Covers Of Rap Songs

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Last week, the Detroit-based rapper and one-time J Dilla collaborator Elzhi released Elmatic. It's the second time a rapper has re-written and re-made Nas's hallowed Illmatic, with Fashawn attempting a similar feat last year. As a listening experience, Elmatic is less than convincing, leaving you continually pining for Nas's original lyrics (which isn't surprising, as they've been recited like holy hip-hop scriptures by rap fans since 1994). But beyond its artistic merits, Elmatic is more notable for being an addition to the tiny body of hip-hop songs covered by other rap artists.

Cover versions may abound in other genres, but hip-hop has a history of shying away from them. This may be due to the high importance of lyrical originality--as Masta Ace put it on the Juice Crew's "The Symphony," "There's a sign at the door: 'No Biting Allowed.' " Even homaging other artists through invoking short snippets of their lyrics is seen as grounds for a dis (Nas to Jay-Z: "How much of Biggie's rhymes is gonna come out your fat lips?"). So while there's an accepted tradition of freestyling over someone else's beat on a mixtape, and the sub-strain of what are technically answer records like Salt-N-Pepa (as Super Nature) responding to Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick's "The Show" with "The Show Stoppa," whole-hearted rap covers remain the genre's curio. Here then is a tribute to the brave souls who have dared reinvent the raps of others--with varying results.

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Q&A: Pharoahe Monch On Growing Up in Queens, Twitter, Pizza, and Porn

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"A guy got shot in the head at a club and the brain pieces were on the mirror -- as I was running out I took a glance at it." Pharoahe Monch is talking about the most unfortunately explicit thing he saw growing up in the same Southside Jamaica, Queens neighborhood that 50 Cent would later mythologize in rhyme as a heinous war-zone. But while Monch walked similar blocks filled with, as he puts it, "drug dealers and the gangstas and the thugs," he also stoked his artistic intrigue while attending the High School Of Art And Design, a move which freed up his creative mind and prompted him to take an interest in hip-hop music seriously.

The idea of duality has defined Monch's career as a rapper. Along with partner-in-rhyme Prince Po, he came to critical acclaim as part of Organized Konfusion, an often verbose group fond of weaving holy war word play into their rhymes ("Releasing Hypnotical Gasses") and making songs personifying a bullet's tragic stray path (an idea later re-used by Nas on "I Gave You Power.") Organized received pats on the back from their peers -- and is still cited as an influence by any even remotely wordy rapper these days -- but little in the way of sales. As the group split, Monch scored the biggest hit of his career with "Simon Says," but basing it around an uncleared sample from Godzilla nixed it as a spring-board to mainstream success. A similar story ensued with his second solo album, the more easily-digested and soulful Desire: Instead of allowing Monch to take his place alongside other rappers previously lauded by critics but ignored by the masses (see: Common, with an assist from Kanye West; The Roots, thanks, ultimately to a talk show host), the project left him stuck as an icon to those in the underground (although the recording of the album did coincide with an opportunity to ghost-write for Diddy).

Monch's new album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), find him resolute in his commitment to conveying a message and a certain degree of lyrical art in his music -- he talks with surprise about how few artists feel the need to speak on the world around them, not least regarding the recent events in Japan and Libya -- but he's also tried to frame it in a cinematic context. With a more mature approach to songwriting, Monch wants to appeal to those who want to hear actual songs, not just rap scholars looking to dissect 16 densely-packed bars. It's a balance Monch says he's happy with, describing the early reaction to the album as being "overwhelming." So in his present good spirits, Monch was happy to flit from reminiscing about days growing up in Queens and how the murder of producer Paul C halted Organized's chances of signing to Def Jam to talking those times when he wants nothing more than to "order a pizza and some porn."

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Jay Electronica's Show In Red Hook Last Night Featured A Bonkers Pharoahe Monch Freestyle And Some Rather Unkind Words For The Police

So Jay Electronica dropped by Red Hook Park last night for a show that seemed just a bit more... intense than Conan O'Brien's fete uptown. Per friend-of-SOTC Carter Maness:

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