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Pharoahe Monch// The Kazimier/ 19.2.14

It was a shame you missed Pharoahe Monch hitting up the Kazimier last week! The quirky, out of the way venue was packed with enthusiastic and dedicated rap fans, who were given an emphatic and entertaining performance from an Underground rap legend at an affordable price. It was a show to leave you thinking; both politically and musically, Monch kept it real for his hardcore audience without forgetting how to enthrall newcomers.

Monch’s supporting DJs 2Kind and Boogie Blind (of the X-Ecutioners) delivered sets that thoroughly satisfied real hip hop fans, dropping classics from the old school 90s catalogue and warming us up for the highly respected Queens MC to make his loyal Merseyside appearance in Liverpool as part of his UK tour. Monch expressed his pleasure to be over in England, talked a bit about ‘Soccer’ and was met with great applause, until he mentioned something about supporting Arsenal and their recent FA Cup win vs. Liverpool…

Football politics was the last thing on everyone’s mind however, when he kicked things off with ‘Assassins’, getting all corners of the Kaz jumping. Pharoahe Monch gave us an aural tour of his career, from his not-so-humble roots as part of early 90s duo ‘Organized Konfusion’ and his impeccable debut album ‘Internal Affairs’, hitting us with classics like ‘Stress’ and ‘Simon Says’, which got the crowd in a frenzy, punctuating newer tracks like ‘Push’, ‘Free’ and ‘Damage’ with old favourites, as well as explaining his issues with record companies that led to him going independent before giving us an exclusive performance of his latest hit, ‘Bad Motherfucker’ from his forthcoming album P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), set to be released April 14th.

A lot of Pharoahe’s music details his ongoing struggle with the music industry, and it is clear that Monch has never gained the recognition he deserves despite his Hip Hop history. As part of his rapport with the crowd, Monch bigged up Rakim, Tribe and Mos Def as some of his idols, and reminded us of his work with Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and more recently, the underground political rapper Immortal Technique. Many would put his name up there with the greats, and a large part of his career has been about fighting for that appreciation. And amongst his fans he had that in abundance. Monch gave us ‘Still Standing’, a song based on his fight with asthma, an appropriate theme as he was called back for two exhausting encores by a hungry audience. He was wheezing by the end – a true hardworking entertainer. As the DJs continued the party with some more 90s cuts, everyone was left buzzing, having been treated to a memorable musical experience! Be sure to look out for his new album and don’t miss the next event like this at the Kazimier!

/Jethro Jenkins

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