Pharoahe Monch’s new album We Are Renegades is excellent. Go buy it. If you’ve ever listened to Monch, then you know that he doesn’t fake his rhymes. As is visible above, the back cover of his most recent album is littered with asthma inhalers. Here is Pharoahe on the impact that his breathing struggles have had on his rhyming style.
“The asthma forced me to really go against the issue and push the envelope in terms of breath control and doing runs that I wouldn’t probably try if I didn’t have asthma,” he explained. “If I didn’t have asthma, I’d probably rhyme like the Hip Hop rock-the-spot [style]. But the fact that that shit is an element that I was fighting against, I was like, ‘Fuck that, let me make that battle, lyrically [speaking].'”
via Pharoahe Monch Talks Asthma and Rap Delivery | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX.
Ain’t no conscious hip hop left. Those that were conscious, now are just working to eat.
Pharoahe Monch never pretended to be simple and clean. His work with Organized Confusion was lyrical, dense, and complex. I think Monch is an intellectual roughneck — capable of pushing some thin ideas to the point of breaking. Hold no rapper to the ethical standards of a priest or a politician. Monch shares ideas — you don’t have to like them.
In fact, I didn’t like his video of “Black hand side.” It’s a good tune, and it encourages peaceful resolution of conflict among African Americans. But it also includes a domestic violence scene which seems to get the same treatment. Sweep violence under the rug. I’m not feeling that. So I’m certainly not gonna post a video with some ideas I feel need to be challenged.
But Pharoahe’s We Are Renegades (W.A.R.) is dang good as an album. And I don’t have any need for Pharoahe Monch to match my politics. Just to keep making good music. I’ll decide what fits me.
Witness “Clap.” The first single from the album that gets a relatively lush 10 minute short movie. Winter in America indeed. Ice cold and not getting any warmer. The only spark of warmth comes from gun barrel. 110%.