Interview with Pharoahe Monch (2007)

Interview with Pharoahe Monch

Your album just dropped, what’s new about your music on it?

I think the thing that’s new is the development and growth. I think it’s obvious when you listen to the record. I think I really grew as an artist and I grew as a producer even in terms like getting my point across. I think it’s more clear.

You put a retro feel on Desire. Is that how you feel now or was that just an artistic expression?

I think when I got the beat from Alchemist, everybody knows that Alchemist has so much soul. He incorporates so much soul and drums and incredible Hip Hop feel along with it. that being said I was like ‘Let me incorporate more and push even further the soul side with singers’. And then like just dropped the verses real hard from the verse side of things.

You just dropped your mixtape a few months ago and now the album. Besides that you didn’t have a release since ’99. Why is that?

It was a lot of label politics and turbulence and stuff like that. Just had to sort that out. Once got that it was all good.

Lyricism in mainstream Hip Hop is a dying beast right now. Are you fighting the system with your approach or are you not even trying to compete with today’s commercial acts?

I really don’t pay attention to any trends, radio or anything. I just try to really implement what is in my heart and push it that way. Just be truthful to what my voice was saying inside.

If you were to describe it yourself, what is it about Pharoahe Monch that makes a listener buy your music?

I think that thing that separates me conceptually records like Gun Draws and Trilogy which is on the album and Stray Bullet which is with Organized Konfusion really separates me from a lot of other artists. And conceptually I think there is a handful of artists that Take it there. I think that when I continue to do songs like it just brands my name more.

You show a lot of support to other underground Hip Hop artists, like Mos, Talib and such. What makes you so supporting toward them?

I feel like its natural. You got to brand your name, you got to do that. You gotta separate yourself from the pack. That’s on the business level. On the actor level it’s not even thought about. That’s what I do naturally. I’m proud and happy that it comes off that way.

There was talk of you joining The Four Horsemen. Is that happening and will the name be the 5 Horsemen then?

I haven’t spoke to them in a minute about that group. I am willing to work with any of those cats on any projects. ‘Cause that’s what it’s all about. It’s about working hard, getting those records out there.

You’ve been rapping for about 15 years now. Talking about today’s day and age, what motivates you in your craft?

Goodness man. I feel like to quote Nas it’s still halftime. Honestly I haven’t worked with Premier yet. I haven’t worked with Ahmir (?uestlove) from The Roots yet. I never did a song with Tariq (Black Thought) from The Roots yet. You know there is so much out there. People wanna put a box on it but I don’t see it the same way that industry sees that. So eager to get in a studio with Erick Sermon you know for this next album and just do things that I haven’t done before.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank fans. Just for waiting. New fans who just got up on this shit, who appreciate this album for what it is. Desire, it’s in stores. Pharoahe Monch. Over and out.