Pharoahe Monch – PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Album review

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Pharoahe Monch
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
W.A.R. Media
Release date: April 15th 2014

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

In the case of Troy Jamerson, better known as Pharoahe Monch, those terrible events may include some of the aforementioned, but there is also a good chance of terrible events such as Kanye West interrupting award shows, artists in the game rocking skinny jeans so tight that their preference comes under question, or artists not representing hip hop in its purest form, or most recently, a young pop star whose name we shall not mention being caught on camera singing racist songs and wanting to join that Klan.

Consider this album as antibiotics to your problem you may have called PTSD… maybe you and Pharaohe can relate.

‘Time2′ (squared) is the album starter sees Pharoahe bring back his stuttering rhyming and voice altering style that was first seen in the classic Simon Says. Have you heard a bad Pharoahe Monch/Mr Porter collaboration? Their latest offering, ‘Losing My Mind’ focuses on the album’s theme and concept. This is followed on nicely by the ‘Heroin Addicts’ of the world, which is the introduction to ‘Damage’, a guitar ridden track which sees Pharoahe’s third installment describing life as a bullet, Pharoahe never fails on this latest chapter. Here’s hoping it gets a video and gets regular play in the Hard Rock Cafe.

Another track that is sure-fire to get the visual treatment is the album’s first single. Pharoahe doesn’t need to remind us that he’s a ‘BAD MF’ man!!!!! We have seen him survive a mosh pit with no scratches in that first video! If you find yourself floored in the middle of one of those, smart money says you’re finished. Not Pharoahe!

The next track that follows could well be the album stealer. It’s not latin, white or black music, it’s that cooked up coke, and crack music!!! ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ features another award-winning verse by Black Thought: “…And my tactical cam that never stood for any national anthems/What’s hood, I am the actual answer/And I’ll prove it/Black attire, rapid fire, rapid eye movement/I’m from a species that is higher, I am not human/Extraterrestrial alien, a monster killer of conscience chillin’/In a barrel of lobster/Ex-Slave, sadomasochist, I that gave the massa of my ass to kiss/A dyin’ breed, I’m the last of this/Black is as miraculous as Jesus of Nazareth/When I vocalize the crowd rise like Lazarus…”

You have heard the Michael and Janet classic… now hear Pharoahe’s version! They just don’t want to be messed with, but being on the World Cup vibe, Pharaohe’s glock will leave you ‘Messi’ like playing for Barcelona! Pharoahe’s war with himself makes him want to SCREAM!

Listen to the Marco Polo produced ‘The Jungle’. Does the beat sound familiar to you??? Like you heard it on a classic track on a popular Wu album back in 1995? That was the first thing that struck me with this track.

Surprisingly this is the first video released from the album. ‘Broken Again’ is a story of one man’s struggle with heroin, knows he’s gotta let go but for some reason cannot get away. If there is one thing that Pharoahe and Jean Grae are great for, is creating thought-provoking videos like the one above, something that is lacking in hip hop videos as of late.

The flow and concept continue with the album’s title track, where you listen to the self struggle continue and reach boiling point at times when Pharoahe looks death in the face and gives a resounding middle finger. Decoding the first few lines of the second verse, Pharoahe refers to a Faith Evans track – ‘Everyday Struggle’, which was also the name of a track by Christopher Wallace himself: “When your cerebral ceases to administer solace/And the only Faith you have left is a CD/From a singer who had a son with Christopher Wallace/Tomorrow is never/Hope is abolished/Mind and soul have little to no unity/Life threw a brick through my window of opportunity…”

The track abruptly ends to bring Pharoahe and Talib Kweli their D.R.E.A.M.S. The twenty year old Wu-Tang Clan classic hit continues to be the main influence behind this track as both emcees break down the word DREAM and come with multiple acronyms.
The album closes with a clever remix of The Grand Illusion from Pharoahe’s W.A.R. We Are Renegades album. This time entitled ‘Eht Dnarg Noisulli, Citizen Cope tags out, The Step Kids tag in for the hook. As great as this track is, as far as outros go, Pharoahe may never be able to top the previous album’s outro, Still Standing with Jill Scott.

4 albums in and Pharoahe Monch has created yet another solid consistent offering and never disappoints. At this point, his only competition is himself: Someone that is never caught under pressure of creating another project every so often. Someone who takes his time making sure that the concept, lyrics and delivery are right and exact. If I was to nit-pick at any negatives in the album, it’s that right after it was released, Pharoahe released another track called Get Down, which could have served well as a bonus track at least. On the flip side, the mood of this track is strikingly different to the album itself.

The race for Album Of The Year has begun. Good luck Pharoahe, with upcoming projects from Common, Phife and the Wu-Tang to name a few, you will need it.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN 4U)

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