Music » Music Previews

Long-term goals: Pharoahe Monch, still going strong

The rapper performs at The Howlin’ Wolf Jan. 14



No MC cemented his legacy faster than Pharoahe Monch. On "Simon Says," the chest-obsessed puffer off his 1999 debut Internal Affairs, Monch chiseled a tombstone resume in under 20 words: "New York City gritty committee pity the fool that act shitty in the midst of the calm, the witty." (Even writing that feels badass.) One could argue it came earlier, on any of his three Organized Konfusion records with Prince Po, but those are collaborative, freehand classics. Released seven days after Mos Def's debut Black on Both Sides, Internal Affairs is a one-man show — a crankier, more aggro Black Star barking his internal rhymes in your mug. The eight-year wait for follow-up Desire may have killed his momentum, yet Monch delivered another mutation, predating last year's gospel-rap proselytizing by another eight years. Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey) hung up the mic last week — 2016's final casualty, noted The Village Voice — but Monch is, relatively quietly, still going strong, self-releasing two acronymic albums, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) and PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the latter a spiritual sequel to OK's 1994 treatment Stress: The Extinction Agenda. "I'm a manic depressive mechanic that manages to frantically do damage," he spits on "Time2," a true story addressing the chemical imbalance that nearly killed him. Not "Zoloft and acidophilus" — those just sound killer together. A bunch of rappers and DJs (Sic Hop, Elespee, Strategy, J-Dubble, Ric Ducci and Alfred Banks) open. Tickets $20.

Add a comment