Interview: Pharoahe Monch Talks The Art Of W.A.R.
THE ART OF W.A.R.
BACK ONCE AGAIN, IT’S ABOUT THAT TIME OF YEAR WHERE PHAROAHE MONCH MAKES HIMSELF HEARD TO HIS AUSTRALIAN FANS. BEFORE HIS ASCENT DOWN UNDER TOURING WITH JEAN GAE, TROY DONALD JAMERSON DISCUSSES WITH RIP NICHOLSON THE NEW ALBUM, W.A.R. CO-PRODUCED BY OUR OWN EXPAT M-PHAZES, AND REVAMPING HIS FIRST ALBUM OR FIRST BORN AS HE REGARDS IT.
Pharoahe Monch interviewed for Rip2Shredz Print // Hiphop.sh // Street Press Australia
@ 10.30 AEST - 27th October, 2010
Into the fray with Price Poetry as the Organized Konfusion duo, Monch dropped three albums which received plenty on cred but little on sales. After signing with indie-house Rawkus Records in 1999, the seminal Internal Affairs was released and side-stepping plenty of free agent persuasion from Shady Records, Runyon Ave, Bad Boy and Sony Records, Monch signed with Steve Rifkind’s Street Records Corporation and released his 2007 follow-up Desire.
Monch’s W.A.R. Media imprint partnered with Duck Down Records are ready to bring us W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) which Monch regards as his finest work to date and considers it a boom bap return to circa 1993- ‘94. The supporting cast from Desire have returned, which Jamerson confirms is “still expected February 22nd next year.” And debut single off the LP is the Diamond D produced ‘Shine’ was released earlier this year finding Monch coupled again with the soul-drenched BK vocals of Mela Machinko who featured heavily on Desire. Behind the boards Denaun Porter, Black Milk, Lee Stone all return, but at the helm is Australia’s leading hip hop producer M-Phazes.
“M-Phazes produced the bulk of the album,” expresses Jamerson. “We got Styles P, Bun B, Phonte, Royce Da 5’9″, Jean Grae” and also slated to appear are Cee-Lo Green, Black Thought, Jill Scott and Talib Kweli while Samiyam, Marco Polo, Exile are expected to bring beats to the table. And according to Jamerson W.A.R. packs a bigger punch this time. “In ways I think its very harder approach than Desire.”
Also featured as possibly a notable track with a memorable name, ‘Haile Selassie Karate’ which exercises a new bag of kick ass for the Jamaica, Queens MC. “It’s produced by Denaun Porter from Detroit and the chorus has a beat produced by Samiyam and it’s really got a new style, a mean flow” but is by no means political.
Rumours of W.A.R. Media making a ten year anniversary re-issue of his first album Internal Affairs, a classic rap album, are worth the consideration for Monch who admits he would like re-introduce his early submission which includes a documentary about the making of the album. “We’re trying to make something nice as we re-produce it. Of course we could cut copies and drop it, but we’re working on something nice.”
Despite the revamping of his 1999 effort and admitting that 2011’s W.A.R. is a stronger album, asking Pharoahe Monch to play favourites between his three solid studio releases would just be bad parenting, when you consider that he treats them as his own.
“Actually, they’re all kinda like my children. You look at them and see their differences, their attributes, so for me thinking one is better than the next I think. But because Internal Affairs came out first, everything seems to gravitate off that. But I think Desire is just as powerful.”
Pharoahe Monch, in the airport awaiting flight to Australia, had apologised for having a hoarse voice from his recent shows and as he crosses our shores, the strain of how seriously Monch takes his live job is apparent in conversation. Working long and hard to get it right for his paying fans, Monch isn’t giving anything away easily for his upcoming dates.
“Because we’ve been practising so hard for the shows, I was like let me do something that takes it over the top. And we were going back and forth, talking about things we could do. And one of them was getting the laser light,” laughs Jamerson. “But I don’t wanna give anything away. It’s gonna be crazy.”