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

An emcee, beat­maker, film­maker and writer from Lon­don with Gren­adian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learn­ing and liv­ing Hip Hop cul­ture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and reg­u­larly tour­ing the globe, Apex is well trav­elled, and uses the les­sons this provides to inform his art and out­look. He is a mem­ber of the Glob­al­Fac­tion digit­al pro­duc­tion house and the inter­na­tion­al Hip Hop col­lect­ive End of the Weak.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
An emcee, beatmaker, filmmaker and writer from London with Grenadian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learning and living Hip Hop culture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and regularly touring the globe, Apex is well travelled, and uses the lessons this provides to inform his art and outlook. He is a member of the GlobalFaction digital production house and the international Hip Hop collective End of the Weak.

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