Review: Pharoahe Monch (@pharoahemonch) Live At The Concorde 2

Pho­to Cred­it: Phar­oahe Monch Face­book

As a ded­ic­ated Hip Hop head and emcee, I pride myself on hav­ing seen the major­ity of my music­al influ­ences live — at least the ones we have been for­tu­nate enough to still have with us dur­ing my adult life­time. That said, one of the excep­tions to this prin­ciple was the former Organ­ized Kon­fu­sion mem­ber and Rawkus Records sign­ee, the Queens bor­ough rep­pin’ legend of both under­ground and main­stream suc­cess, Phar­oahe Monch. Until now…

Through­out Feb­ru­ary 2014, Phar­oahe Monch toured Europe pro­mot­ing his newest album ‘PTSD’, play­ing at a load of ven­ues across the UK includ­ing Brix­ton, Liv­er­pool, Manchester and Bris­tol. I man­aged to hit Con­corde2 in Brighton to catch his per­form­ance on the South Coast.

As the ven­ue stead­ily filled, the wait­ing crowd was enter­tained by some of the best UK Hip Hop artists on the scene at the minute. The 7-piece, 3 emcee strong Hip Hop band Gran­ville Ses­sions kicked the night off play­ing tracks of their deadly new album ‘For­ward’. The heavy-hit­ting, dark, string-driv­en ‘Dom­ino’ got the most love, along­side the album’s title track, which fea­tured an out-the-blue appear­ance from UK heavy­weight Stig of the Dump. Stig stayed on stage to sup­port the boom-bap soul sounds of the dude with prob­ably the fast­est grow­ing repu­ta­tion in the UK at the moment; the deeply tal­en­ted Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. Bless­ing melodic and clas­sic sound­ing Hip Hop beats with his fresh yet old-skool Blues tone vocals, the High Focus Records sing­er showed exactly why his future’s look­ing so bright.

So to the main event…

After a short break, the crowd was buzz­ing. The atmo­sphere was agit­ated and elec­tric as the lights went down with many mem­bers of the front few rows (myself included) mov­ing rest­lessly in in anti­cip­a­tion of the inev­it­able mosh pit. We weren’t dis­ap­poin­ted! Phar­oahe hit the stage with char­ac­ter­ist­ic cha­ris­ma, enthu­si­asm and energy, drop­ping bomb after bomb from his extens­ive and impress­ive rep­er­toire. Nearly all my favour­ite tracks came in nearly back to back, from ‘Agent Orange’, to ‘Fuck You’, to ‘My Life’ to ‘Clap’, and we even got treated to the Organ­ised Kon­fu­sion clas­sic ‘Stress’ that sent the spot wild. Backed by the insanely tal­en­ted DJ Boo­gie Blind of the legendary X-Ecu­tion­ers, Phar­oahe expertly wove clas­sic hits in with potent new mater­i­al (includ­ing Bad MF that had dropped online the day before), each with his trade­mark intel­li­gent, express­ive, anim­ated and thought pro­vok­ing lyr­i­cism and var­ied, unique flow. This per­form­ance dis­played the depth of Pharoahe’s skill as an artist and emcee; the crowd was enga­ging through­out as he bridged the gap between the Golden-Era and the present, high­light­ing an area where Phar­oahe has suc­ceeded where many emcees of his and pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions have failed — hav­ing kept the essence of his music true to itself des­pite exper­i­ment­ing suc­cess­fully with new sounds and ideas. In addi­tion to his own mater­i­al, Phar­oahe showed his humil­ity and ded­ic­a­tion as a true Hip Hop head by firstly given a large sec­tion of light to DJ Boo­gie Blind so he could show his skills on the wheels, and secondly by throw­ing in a load of clas­sic tracks to pay homage to artists whose music he said he loves. The most fit­ting was ‘Next Epis­ode’, as Phar­oahe paid trib­ute to the late, great Nate Dogg, before drop­ping their col­lab­or­a­tion ‘Oh No’.

But there was more to come. Des­pite hav­ing been a near con­stant mosh pit through­out (largely instig­ated by myself and my First and Last/POZ/Official Mosh Starters brother OMeza Omni­scient), noth­ing com­pared to when the anthem soun­ded out. When ‘Simon Says‘ dropped, it kicked of dif­fer­ently!! There was barely space to through elbows as what seemed like every­one in Con­corde2 went nuts. Phar­oahe ended the show there, but returned for an encore that made the night of all the sis­ters in the house, drop­ping ‘The Light’ fol­lowed by a track I’d nev­er heard; new lyr­ics over what soun­ded like a sample of ‘But­ter­flies’ by Flo­etry (later covered by Micheal Jack­son).  It was a big end­ing to a big night, one of the hypest shows I’ve been to in a while — as was expec­ted by the emcee who told you that  “Simon says ‘Get the Fuck Up’…”.

Apex Zero

@ApexZero00

 

 

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been express­ing his anti-polit­ic­al views and extend­ing his work towards defin­ing, inspir­ing and cre­at­ing last­ing change through Hip Hop for over a dec­ade. Apex has been work­ing with grass­roots and mil­it­ant organ­isa­tions, edu­cat­ing him­self and oth­ers, organ­ising and build­ing towards over­turn­ing the oppress­ive mech­an­ism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s under­ground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omni­scient. Years of earn­ing respect and enhan­cing their repu­ta­tion, which lead to col­lab­or­a­tions and work­ing rela­tion­ships with many of the scenes most prom­in­ent artists and organ­isa­tions, mani­fes­ted in the Octo­ber 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hard­core Hip Hop’ gathered inter­na­tion­al acclaim from both fans and crit­ics, fur­ther enhan­cing Apex’s repu­ta­tion as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-polit­ic­al, ‘revolu­tion­ary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been trav­el­ling out­side of the UK, seek­ing new per­spect­ives and aim­ing at enhan­cing his out­look, explor­ing dif­fer­ent soci­et­ies, con­nect­ing with Hip Hop heads, act­iv­ists and schol­ars world­wide. Like his music, his writ­ing is often an exten­sion of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whil­st enhan­cing and elev­at­ing both the cul­ture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been expressing his anti-political views and extending his work towards defining, inspiring and creating lasting change through Hip Hop for over a decade. Apex has been working with grassroots and militant organisations, educating himself and others, organising and building towards overturning the oppressive mechanism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s underground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omniscient. Years of earning respect and enhancing their reputation, which lead to collaborations and working relationships with many of the scenes most prominent artists and organisations, manifested in the October 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop’ gathered international acclaim from both fans and critics, further enhancing Apex’s reputation as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-political, ‘revolutionary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been travelling outside of the UK, seeking new perspectives and aiming at enhancing his outlook, exploring different societies, connecting with Hip Hop heads, activists and scholars worldwide. Like his music, his writing is often an extension of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whilst enhancing and elevating both the culture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

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