Pharoahe Monch has more than just clout in Hip-Hop but his new body of work reinforces his place in the game

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Pharoahe Monch is a household name in Hip-Hop. He’s had his share of hits throughout his career and continues to make music not just for the fans but for himself. It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Monch but 2014 will mark his official return with his upcoming album. P.S.T.D (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) stands for what you think it is. But the veteran rapper isn’t just trying to bank off the notorious disease amongst soldiers. It means more than the acronym leads one to believe.

The 17-track album is set to be one of Monch’s best projects yet. With production from Marco Polo, Lee Stone and Monch himself, the album describes where Monch is at in his independent career. His fourth studio album holds several solid hits like “Bad MF” and “Rapid Eye Movement” with Black Thought. The Source got the chance to catch up with the New York rapper to talk about what’s in store for the album, which drops April 15th.

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The Source: PSTD, the title of the album is unique. Was there a specific reason for it or is it just a metaphor?

Pharoahe Monch: It’s definitely well thought out. I knew if I chose that title people would be like “Well maybe he’s trying to capitalize on something that’s currently popular and an issue amongst soldiers at war. But I thought it would be a great way to challenge myself as a writer and really digging into something else. It really touches upon the full cannon of issues that people deal with in terms of traumatic experiences.

How PSTD contrast with your last album W.A.R?

I feel like W.A.R was a statement album with the acronym of “We Are Renegades”. I was poking my chest out like I’m doing this on my own now and I need your support. I’m a rebel and there’s nothing prolific but it’s just feels good to be saying it and warning people about issues with them as well as social issues, authority issues and the war that we have that we struggle with. I thought it was a really bold statement and I just really wanted to show where I was emotionally, financially, after making all of these claims and statements about propaganda and government and where I stand now.

The first single I heard was “Stand Your Ground”, which stems from the tragedy of Trayvon Martin. How did you relate to his situation?

Well, first of all, “Stand Your Ground” was a leak. We weren’t even finished with it. We thought it would be poignant to leak the record. Then we finished it and we made it a bonus for the album. But how I felt.. it’s just a long history of the same situation and with the same result. I remember writing the “Clap” record that being about Sean Bell and somebody said that the song/video looks redundant and I was like how can you possibly say that when this shit continues to happen again and again and it’ll probably happen again. You start to feel connected like it hits closer to home.

What was the most difficult track to finalize for this project?

They were all pretty ill. The last one we were waiting on was “Rapid Eye Movement” with Black Thought because his schedule was so crazy.

For this album you had some help with production from Marco Polo, The Stepkids and Lee Stone, but it also looks like you also produced most of the album yourself, or at least had a hand in it. Is that a control thing or do you value your production over the rest?

I think the stuff that I did was mostly like fillers you know, I didn’t do anything big on it. But what I think people get misconstrued is what production is and that defines that particular beat. But you’re talking about producers like Lee Stone, K’naan, and Marco, they’re actually working around vocals and adding to the beat. There was still heavy production my side even though Hip-Hop hasn’t given the credit for that type of thing. People really don’t look at that sometimes.

Tony Centeno (@_tonyMC)