Fotografia: skinnywashere
Publicado a: 20/09/2022

Há mais de 30 anos ao mais alto nível.

Os 20 melhores versos de Pharoahe Monch

Fotografia: skinnywashere
Publicado a: 20/09/2022

Já Eminem (em “Rap God“) rimava: “I know there was a time where once I/ Was king of the underground/ But I still rap like I’m on my Pharoahe Monch grind”. Para lá do reconhecimento público dos pares, o autor de Internal Affairs (1999) foi-se fazendo nome fundamental da arte de rimar a partir do momento em que formou dupla com Prince Po nos Organized Konfusion, mantendo a forma com discos a solo, em grupo (A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism, 2021, com os th1rt3en) ou participações esporádicas em trabalhos de ilustres como Masta Ace, Black Milk, The X-Ecutioners ou Yasiin Bey.

Antes da sua actuação na edição deste ano do Iminente, em Lisboa, é hora de olhar para o seu extenso catálogo e tentar retirar o que de melhor encontramos quando é altura de colocar a mente e o corpo em cima de um instrumental.

[The X-Ecutioners] “The X (Y’all Know the Name)” (ft. Xzibit, Skillz, Pharoahe Monch & Inspectah Deck)

“This is masterful, classical, material wax, imperial tactics
Black shit I master, traps that collapse backwards
All area access, passes without practice
Hit em, then I’ma shit on em and spit on em, and send faxes
Maximum amount (uh) not the minimal
The orator rock chop like Florida Seminole
Subliminal raps which make criminals act bitch
Instrumental in creating the most pinnacle rap shit
Got Toni Braxton-lookin’ women collapsin’
My beats get feet to steppin like Fast Actin Tinactin
Dominant X-Men conference like Pac-10
Backslap wack rap actors to get a reaction
My venom rips tenements up then I’ma wreck shit
Then I’ma flip, administer hits on this next shit
Deejays collect tips from them then hit the exit
At they show the front row, usually can get hectic
The X shit…”

Alguém se lembra dos álbuns dos DJs? Esta minigolden era no virar do milénio contou com vários projectos em que o objectivo era voltar a atenção para a arte do DJing e do scratch. No entanto, os diversos discos de X-Ecutioners contam com um elenco de luxo dos melhores MCs da época a trocarem versos entre si (mas sem roubar o protagonismo!). Dá para perceber que quando entrou num som com um título inspirado na primeira linha de “Simon Says” com Xzibit, Mad Skillz & Inspectah Deck, Pharoahe só podia ter trazido o seu agame de fastflows e multis para dar trabalho a quem entrou a seguir. 

[Pharoahe Monch] “Assassins” (ft. Jean Grae & Royce da 5’9″)

“They ask me why I’m highly regarded, this God body, probably
Monch is a mixture of Marcus Garvey, Miles Davis and Bob Marley (Radical)
Never skateboard slang like gnarly, more like:
Weed in my whip on the way to get top like Charles Barkley
You are hardly prepared to spar with a marksman, spark me
I’m Gambit with the ace of spades, a master in archery
Vehicular, particularly the vernacular
Specifically the fit so when I spit it, it’s spectacular and accurate
When I attack, I’m more legend than Acura
Flip Bloomberg the bird, bitch, more blood than Blacula
More Crip than cryptic scriptures
Encrypted with backwards vernacular
Plus, sicker than most like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction
I am that n**** for real, per capita
Smacking the next rapper that uses the term ‘swag’ or thereafter
These three assassins get to ass whipping
Prepare to for a professional ass that can
Shape shift, spit, hollow tip clips, mainly
Sick, ain’t he? Mind control
Make you shoot your best friend in the face, Dick Cheney
My life is like a documentary film depicted in black and white
Flick’s grainy (Geronimo)
I’m on Guantanamo Bay taking pics in a Captain Morgan pose
With my left foot on a pile of detainees, screaming
‘We are renegades!’ Fuck you, pay me”

Para esta faixa do seu disco W.A.R., Pharoahe Monch remete-nos para um universo sci-fi em que 97 de 100 assassinos foram capturados, sobrando apenas 3 — Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae e Royce da 5’9” — que formam uma equipa. No entanto, apesar da fasquia ser alta, Pharoahe Monch não é conhecido por deixar rappers matarem os seus sons e traz os seus melhores skills para a acção.

[Street Smartz] “Metal Thangz” (ft. O.C. & Pharoahe Monch)

“Get your motherfucking orders of protection
Emcees? No question
See, I was raised in an ill drug section
And it persuaded my poetical selections to be
Hardcore. Shit, I swore on my father’s
Grave I’d make slaves of n***** who played brave
I craved to engrave my name inside of the pavement
And my basement’s an arrangement of different torture devices
That slices the first n***** who think they are the nicest
My advice is to you: think twice
The price to pay is your life. Jesus Christ, I am
The Pharoahe. The road I’m on is kind of narrow, plus there’s
A fork in this shit, and I don’t know which way to go
But these scriptures are sculptures. For crews
Of dead rappers, the words hover above like vultures
Vipers, I write the type of shit to make n***** incite
Race riots from the hate that white invited
Sinister. When it’s the time to finish the rhyme, watch the
Minister climb up (Up), filling in the atmosphere
Like cannabis, and if it’s activating me, believe
I’m captivating heat plus I’m decapitating three emcees
With my axe like thoraxes. Practice
Allows me to receive information like faxes—what?!?”

Os Street Smartz, dupla de Queens, não têm uma discografia densa: logo após conseguirem um acordo discográfico, um dos seus membros foi preso. No entanto. o MC F.T. (AKA Fuc That) conseguiu recrutar participações de Pharoahe Monch e O.C. para o seu single “Metal Thangz” em 1996. Monch rouba facilmente o show com um verso violento em que explica como chacina MCs que se atravessam no seu caminho.

[Black Milk] “The Matrix” (ft. Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price & DJ Premier)

“Four-finger ring rap, sling slang, Pharaohe, the flows good
You couldn’t hang if you was Ving Rhames in Rosewood
Couldn’t string together some shows
If hoes would sing together with soul for you
And then you came when the doughs good
I’m Billy Joel, I really soul
Might dust off some red vinyl that’s really old
Or chop drums
On a roll while I’m shotgun with a wireless MPC 4000—I got one
I bomb crews, I’m hot
I’m cool, the Top Gun, but not
The Fonz or Tom Cruise, I got
A pool of lyrical warn shots that you shouldn’t respond to
(Like) pant legs around the ankles of hipsters (I’m tight)
Paintin’ a more visual picture than Pixar
Get more skull than Skeletor; I rip fuel
While y’all bite like parasites and pitbulls”

Nesta colaboração histórica que ajudou a solidificar a carreira de Black Milk, o verso mais destacado vai para Sean Price, mas o de Pharoahe não lhe fica muito atrás. Desde as rimas provocativas, “You couldn’t hang if you was Ving Rhames in Rosewood”, à maneira como as palavras de Pharoahe ecoam nas quebras do beat, as dinâmicas do seu flow num instrumental mostram-no numa forma incomparável.

[Organized Konfusion] “Bring It On”

“My child
I even be getting more graphic than a Neo-Geo thirty-two-bit
Computer chip be slipped between my lips, and then I’ll spit!
Spit it out, spit it out, go ahead, spit it out, that itty-bitty style you upchuck
Better believe I butt-fuck emcees from the rear, it appears you’re stuck-up!
It’s my terminology that strike the mind and rips this beat apart
You know the many styles I choose will bruise crews from the start
I flow, awkwardly—that’s awkwardly I flow that’s to the rhythm
Incisions are made into the brain, and then I begin to give ‘em a lobotomy
Follow me, I’m shaping your brain like pottery all over the track
Gimme the P-H, gimme the A-R, gimme the O-A, gimme the H-E, Pharoahe!
Crazy poison-tip arrows are hitting you from all directions
You cannot dodge or manage to dislodge them from the point at which they are connecting
I am se-se-selecting a ne-ne-ne-ne-new style-style fo-fo-for
Pile-piles of emcees who try to get bu-bu-buck-buckwild
F-f-f-fuck that!
When I’m in a renovative state of mind, I’m innovative
Never been afraid of rocking a microphone, I’m prone to be eliminating
Cling when I sing a song of sixpence, if it makes sense, then sing along
Cling along to my nuts if you got guts then bring it on”

Um dos grandes versos da carreira do Pharoahe Monch como parte dos Organized Konfusion. Apesar de ter sido lançado em 1994, quem ouve este banger pela primeira vez em 2022 ainda o considerará assustador. Para além das barras serem avançadas para época, o que Pharoahe fez a nível de flow, métrica e entrega nunca tinha sido feito. Desde as vozes, à variação de estilos, ao gaguejo intencional em algumas linhas e à forma como as sílabas eram colocadas cuidadosamente para preencher cada espaço do beat, esta é uma das provas que Pharoahe já tinha clássicos incontornáveis na história do rap muito antes de sequer pensar em lançar um “Simon Says”.

[Blackstar, Pharoahe Monch, Rah Digga & A-Butta] “Talking to you”

“I levitate through meditation
Sitting my legs crossed, source to build force field
To shield my immediate surroundings
Avoiding falling sheetrock, rubble and granite
Expand, white man, got plans to feed the planet
Excessive hate, repercussions of manic-depressive state
Panic, God forbid we all take it for granted
Delivering lyrical thoughts for spiritual dividends
Half the concentrate, like Hampstead we’ll be livin in
Magnetic boring them, it’s a must I score again
And pollute em, shoot em like white students in Oregon
Cuz when I was broke, I always found figures to fuck bitches
Wit full-force like them muscle-bound n*****”

Nesta posse cut pouco conhecida de versos curtos da era Rawkus, a voz melódica dum jovem Mos Def abre a sessão, mas Pharoahe Monch rapidamente toma controlo do beat com este verso mega preciso que nos dá vontade de fazer rewind. No entanto, a agressividade de Rah Digga torna essa tarefa meio impossível e obriga-nos a ouvir o som todo.

[Pharoahe Monch] “No Mercy” (ft. M.O.P.)

“They’ll bury me with my SP-1200 (For sure!)
Fuck the trinity, inseminate the earth, now take its virginity
In my vicinity, rap is like energy pack
Sending me back behind enemy line to rap too melodic
Melodies, never melodramatic
But hypnotic like cellos for fellow fanatics
I fiend for who fuck wits, inappropriate
Fill ‘em with so much lead I’ll call Berger and Associates
This rhyme will remain in the minds of my foes forever in infamy
The epitome of lyrical epiphanies
Skilfully-placed poems and carefully planned symphonies
Who would be ignorant enough to have the audacity
To fuck with the likes of I and my tenacity?
This is what you get when you fuck with the likes of
The magnanimous flows of total assholes and ignoramuses
M.O.P. slash Pharoahe Monch cause damages
The advantage is we banish artists, labels and managers
Amateurs found six feet deep in metal canisters, we”

No seu primeiro álbum a solo, lançado em 1999, Pharoahe Monch teve vários convidados e entre eles estava o duo mais energético do hardcore rap da altura, os M.O.P., numa faixa produzida por The Alchemist ainda no início de carreira enquanto beatmaker. Pharoahe quase que consegue equiparar a energia de M.O.P. e linhas como “This rhyme will remain in the minds of my foes forever in infamy/ The epitome of lyrical epiphanies/ Skilfully-placed poems and carefully planned symphonies” tornaram óbvia a excelência na escrita e o seu estatuto lendário.

[Pharoahe Monch] “Simon Says [REMIX]” (ft. Method Man & Redman, Busta Rhymes, Shabaam Sahdeeq & Lady Luck)

“What the fuck’s going on here? Just a minute now, hold up
Sinister with it, the time, I diminish him, finish him, roll up
When I’m in a cinematography state of mind
My rap trip, rip, flip, clip, say the rhyme
Shit, I spectacular run, hit spit bitches vernacular
Miraculous rhyme flow, back track to the immaculate
Binaca blast n**** that’s fast, son, I’ll box you
Ladies rub the ta-tas, bras, titties and knockers on the floor
Fellas, pull your cock out
On the verge to splurge verbs for third-round knockout
Uh, I bust a rhyme that dust frustrated rappers
Dust crush competition, lights out like the Clapper
The mic ripper, whip a n**** like a slave
Separate him from his fam
He don’t know how to behave now
Drag his ass, bag dun for his loot
Figure me to give a n****-y twenty-one gun salute
That’s seven shots for 2Pac, seven for Biggie Smalls
Seven for Freaky Tah up in your neighborhood malls
How’s that? Fat action packed rap remain tame
Pharoahe fuckin’ Monch, ain’t a damn thing changed”

“Simon Says” é o single mais conhecido de Pharoahe Monch e para este remix oficial convidou alguns dos melhores MCs da sua era. Dá para ver que a competitividade entre rappers deste nível é real quando vemos Pharoahe a escrever um verso ainda mais elaborado para esta versão. Um shoutout especial para o remix do UK, que conta com as participações de Rodney P e Roots Manuva.

[Pharoahe Monch] “Rapid Eye Movement” (ft. Black Thought)

“My think tank’s like a piranha tank, think, multiple bites figure
Mega, reality, tera, giga
Grand Theft Auto, modern day Mickey and Mallory
Small, but I’m sick enough to walk into an art gallery
And piss on a Picasso, crack statues
Rub my balls on a Banksy shit on it and throw it at you
So when the beat intensifies
I become emotionally desensitized
Like, once I slapped a rapper with mace
Then I spit acid in his face, after he rinsed his eyes, no wait
I actually grew five times my size
Grabbed Ma$e by the thigh and slapped a rapper with him
Now that’s practicing sacrilegious activism
Attack is for battle and practical rap with wisdom
Actually, it’s pragmatic capitalism
For actors that crack under pressure and collapse when I get ‘em
Monch is medicinal man-made medical marijuana
With a phase plasma rifle like I’m searchin’ for Sarah Conner
And shorty’s got brains, shorty not playin’
From 40 blocks, I’m a killer with 40-watt range
With an arrangement of bullets that I’ve arranged
Encrypted in scriptures specific individual names
That shall remain anonymous
Me and the ammunition’s in a relationship that’s monogamous
It’s like I’m married to the silencer
Until I file for divorce and release my ex-calibers
Do art with your arteries, place that for my adversaries
Push your snapback cap back, cap your capillaries like”

Quando dois titãs que se conhecem há décadas juntams-e a trocar versos entre si, a probabilidade de acontecer algo épico é grande. E assim aconteceu em 2014, quando Pharoahe convidou Black Thought para esta participação no seu disco PSTD. Com linhas como:  “Like, once I slapped a rapper with mace/ Then I spit acid in his face, after he rinsed his eyes, no wait/ I actually grew five times my size/ Grabbed Ma$e by the thigh and slapped a rapper with him. Now that’s practicing sacrilegious activism”. As leis da física deixam de ter importância quando se está a escrever um dos melhores egotrips da carreira.

[Pharoahe Monch] “Broken Again”

“They told me to see the glass half full cause some see it as half empty
I chose to see the glass twice the size it needed to be
Smashed it against the wall in the kitchen
On the floor going through withdrawals I was itchin’
She rescued me, my heroine to the end
But then she morphed into heroin in a syringe
Around my bicep, I would tie a shoestring
Tap! five times to find a vein in there
Squeeze 7cc’s so I could see the seven seas
And CC all my friends so they could see what I was seeing
But what they saw was a despicable human being
So, I guess they just wasn’t seeing what I was seeing
Convert two into one, an indivisible plan
To discover what dreams may come for this invisible man
Sentimental education, beautiful weather
Dam was constantly catching fire
Richard Pryor
Her skin deteriorated
Family infuriated by the myriad of tracks but my train never came
So humiliated, started begging for change
Failed rehabilitation so the scars still remain
Nice clothes became frayed
So isolated and afraid
I smell like an animal my teeth enamel decayed and
I’m relocated in Alabama now
That Maalox and Mylanta now
And it won’t stop the burn
Constantly searching for the answers how
I could kiss the sky without enhancing
But, it’s so hard to learn”

Num dos sons mais intimistas da carreira de Pharoahe, este recorre a duplos sentidos para nos agarrar com uma letra que relaciona uma relação com uma mulher com o uso de heroína. O conceito não é novo, mas nunca tinha sido feito esta elegância. Parte da música cantada e parte rappada, este som é o exemplo perfeito de como Pharoahe conjuga emoção e skill técnico como ninguém. Como ouvimos em linhas como “I chose to see the glass twice the size it needed to be” e a aliteração em “Squeeze 7cc’s so I could see the seven seas/ And CC all my friends so they could see what I was seeing/ But what they saw was a despicable human being”. Os comentários no Youtube de fãs a relatar como esta música os ajudou a superar períodos difíceis de depressão e toxicodependência falam por si.

[Pharoahe Monch] “Evolve” 

“Yes, how many gorillas who actually killers really rhyming?
Artists that actually signed still killing?
And when it comes to killing the mic, they’re not willing
And I’m supposed to be shook? That’s the shit that kill me
Take the bullet for Barack on the balcony, then vanish
Extinguish the sun when I drool, play pool with the planets
We are renegades, the movement outlandish
My shit straight from the soul, goddammit
It’s the one time only, vernacular original
Miraculous spectacular flow, computer digital
I piss upon the pitiful, ridicule the minuscule
Pharoahe Monch need to park that ass like municipal
And listen to an enigma
The anomaly, your momma nominated me phenomenal
I dominated without a six-pack abdominal
You could get 19 put through that, like Amadou
So what I’ma do is separate the false from the truest
You’ve amassed nothing trying to ball like U-Mass
So phenomenal with mics, I don’t like myself
Sadomasochist MC, I bite myself
But not cameo though, there’s no Grammy to show
For the love that people hand me on the street, now overstand
Grade school mathematics, examining thugs
They discuss Bloods, Crips, techs, jammin’ and drugs
I speak of world peace, war, famine, and flood
Watching Pan’s Labrynth while I’m unraveling bud
Gambling on the next rapper to die in the hood
If God shall choose that artist to be me
Let one verse of a song be a reflection of a pedigree
Better than your back catalog recipe
The legacy by which the entire world remembers me
Quote, do not edit me; let it be said
I’m top five all time (Alive or…)
We know that’s misstated and so overused
So here’s an overview of why I’m six feet over you
And a million fans think this statement is so overdue
And pardon if it sounds a little wheezy
Not Wayne, motherfuckers, I got asthma; it’s not easy
Shotgun lyrical; cock back, squeeze me
Women case my anatomy; touch me, tease me
Please seize the moment in the struggle against Lucifer
Renegade 13, the Executioner
Spit with a crucifix
So that you can expect a rant from Pharoahe Monch like Mucinex
Get used to it, get used to wisdom
Get used to usage of a backward euphemism”

Na história do rap contam-se pelos dedos das mãos os MCs que passados 20 anos de carreira continuam a evoluir. Pharoahe Monch é um destes raros casos, e é num beat de Exile que prova, com um verso único e sem refrões, que o tempo passa e as gerações mudam, mas ele não vai a lado nenhum. Ao dizer “Sadomasochist MC, I bite myself” relembra que é um MC que se move na sua própria lane e a originalidade nunca há-de ser um problema.

[Organized Konfusion] “Fudge Pudge” (Feat. O.C.)

“Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure cooker
I leave the party with a mass amount of hookers
Slip and slide, I sling the sludge
(Fudge) fudge (Pudge) pudge, will never hold a grudge
Up against the wall, I caught you with the drugs
(The organisms are the jury) Guess who’s the judge?
(You) I hit the hook heavy
Ready no chitter-chatter I figure since I’m bigger why pitter-patter
Prouncin’ on particular poets who persist to portray professional punks
You’re just a pussy (Meow)
Cat when I’m deckin’ you
Disrespecting’ you, clever whenever I select
A new dialogue, one plus one
Get it together, girls don’t despair ‘cause I’ll be your
Fair weather friend, friend
No, I don’t have a Benz and no I don’t have an Infiniti
I figure the eight inches of meat will be the remedy
When I pull up to your bumper
‘Cause I’ll be down to thump a girl like Heather Hunter
I tell you now, you’ll never hate it (Hate it)
The triple X when it comes to sex is what I’m rated
I tell you now that I can give good love
Yes, I’m the one you should love (Tell us about it)
So don’t try to diss Fudge Pudge
‘Cause it’s alright with me
Kick slick rhymes out of the mouth
Tricky in a joust, plus I’m down with Mickey Mouse
C’mon everyone, let’s flow to the rhythm of my tongue
To the rhythm of a drum
Emcees wanna battle, but they can’t get with the
Capital M-O-N-C-H on the mic I get swifter
Than the rest of them maybe even the best
Scoring 101 in a poetical test
So O.C., if you know who you are
Get on the mic, become a superstar”

É com a rima “Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure cooker/ I leave the party with a mass amount of hookers” que Pharoahe começa a destruir este funky beat do som que lançou a carreira do seu colaborador de longa data O.C. Num tom de egotrip sexual, o rapper descreve as suas peripécias e explica como não precisa de um Benz para “arrastar” mulheres. 

[Organized Konfusion] “Somehow, Someway”

“Only inches beyond my eyes, Lord, here lies the soul
Of a n**** who fights the lyrical war with inside himself
Pharoahe, eager to see feeble intermediate MCs
Immediately, deleted repeatedly
Y’all know the unpresidented
Without herb, every single word’ll be verbally demented
Presented, so that when it disintegrates
No sentiments, I’m imminent
Standin’ alone and get your tenement
Isn’t it bug how I bust lyrical slugs
At thugs that mug n***** for loot and sell drugs
When the fan gets struck by feces
I’m only rollin’ wit da most superior profiled to my species
See my thesis to release these bombs by all means
Yes, attack the mic raps until it’s a crack fiend
Mase the bass with AIDS and misplaced the vaccine
Pharoahe’s pullin’ out on the Pope [Run it!]
To compare Catholicism with scriptures that I wrote and note
My physical form is like ‘Nam
Insane like Saddam Hussein but still calm, but uhh”

Após um refrão “emprestado” de “Gin & Juice” do Snoop Dogg, Pharoahe Monch mostra que, mesmo no auge da era do gangsta rap, não se sente intimidado pelos thugs que dominavam o panorama. Este verso de puro egotrip é encontrado numa das últimas faixas do último disco de Organized Konfusion e o seu flow e dicção já davam indícios do que aí viria: um Pharoahe Monch 2.0 com uma carreira a solo.

[th1rt3en] “Racist”

“The melody is Palestinian and the snare is spic
The rhythm is Dominican, I use a kike as a kick
Couple cracks in the track in the same place I took a shit
Spend on a white mic I separated in the mix
And in the end the concept was there before I made it
Deceived it, stole it, claimed it, raped it
They begged me for royalties, but I laugh and leave ‘em hangin’
Like these stupid n***** for singin’ these ignorant choruses that they be makin’
If the bass is Jamaican
I get specific with he hi-hats that are Haitian, let the Asians do the arithmetic
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
Tick me off and I’ll attend your Biblical conversation
The detonator was in my vest ‘cause I’m invested in domination
And there’s no need to discuss or debate shit
I hate y’all n*****, racist”

É difícil escolher um verso deste som do seu mais recente álbum em que se aventura nos universos do rock e em que expõe várias apropriações culturais feitas à cultura negra. A onomatopeia que faz com os hi-hats haitianos alude a uma bomba prestes a explodir num verso que continua a levar para a frente a arte da rima.

[Pharoahe Monch] “Trilogy”

“Took you to be my lawfully wedded wife
To have, to hold, to love, to cherish, but
Death did us part, what a coincidence
Now perhaps the police will be convinced that it was an accident
If I’m accurate and careful with the evidence
This motherfucker says, passing up my residence
And to believe those files set a precedence
From the start, it should’ve been obvious it never did
Prevalent, the wicked debauchery and decadence
Was carried out with such masterful excellence
And the sadistic way you rip my heart
It was natural to transform murder into art
And the weight of my conscience would knowingly carry
Three-sixty-five days to the date that we was married
Thoughts of how I would achieve the murder would vary
We’re closer than ever, together we’ll be buried ‘cause”

Foi com a produção de Mr. Porter que Pharoahe criou uma das obras primas da sua carreira num storytelling que nos remete para um autêntico filme de ficção sobre adultério e homicídio. Entre os vários acts desta música de mais de nove minutos destaca-se este verso dedicado à sua falecida esposa. Não vale a pena dar spoiler: é daqueles casos em que o filme tem de ser visto do início ao fim.

[Organized Konfusion] “Stray Bullet”

“Let the trigger finger put the pressure to the mechanism
Which gives a response for the automatic *bang*
Clip to release projectiles in single
File forcing me to ignite then travel
Through the barrel, headed for the light
At the end of a tunnel with no specific target in sight
Slow the flow like H₂O water
Visualize the scene of a homicide, a slaughter
No remorse for the course I take when you pull it
The result’s a stray bullet
n***** who knew hit the ground runnin’ and stay down
Except for the kids who play on the playground
‘Cause for some little girl she’ll never see more than six years of life
Trifleing, when she fell from the seesaw
But umm wait, my course isn’t over
Fled out of the other side of her head towards
A red Range Rover, then I ricochet
Fast past a brother’s ass, oh damn, what that n**** say
‘Aww fuck it’, next target’s Margaret’s face *bang*
And I struck it, now it’s a flood of blood in circumference to her face
And an abundance of brains all over the street
Shame how we had to meet *bang*
Dashin’, buckin’, greet by fuckin’ family
They follow behind me in a orderly fashion
Bashin’ through flesh, I’m wild
Crashin’ through the doors of projects hallways to deflect off of the tiles
I’m coming for you little girl
Once inside I shatter your world
Swirl, no more dreams, no hopes when I spray
You better pray to the Pope or the Vatican before I go rat-tat-a-tat again
I’m mad again brother somebody’s mother will be sad again
But whose blue skies will turn grey
From the attack of the MAC-11, I’m a stray bullet”

O conceito desta música — rimar na perspectiva de uma bala disparada de uma arma — foi considerado um dos mais inovadores do rap na altura em que saiu. Hoje em dia, vários MCs revisitaram esse tema, incluindo o próprio Pharoahe com a sequela de 2007 “When The Gun Draws”, mas esta música continua a ser um marco histórico na evolução da escrita no hip hop. 

[A-F-R-O] “Swarm” (ft. Pharoahe Monch)

“A panicking heroin addict, sicker than Mr. Robot
Anakin Sky-walking, and I’m an animal on the mic
Cannibal cyborg protesting, fighting for his mechanical rights Publishing in my fucking mechanical rights
Swarm, West African killer bee abilities
A martyr with modern day smart bombs
Armed with Kevlar
Body armour, that’s a part of my particle melting artillery
Kidnap the president’s daughters without a plan
Clap at the Ku Klux Klan and hack Hillary
And all this, while I was getting head service from my personal server
Shit, she should not have been on her personal server
Cherry pickin’ licking nipples playing Contra
With Jane Fonda, now that’s a triple entendre
Pharoahe, I actually mastered the supernatural
Strike you out like Satchel
Then I’ll clap at you in a tabernacle
Crack a statue, rappin’ Matthews backwards
If you’re attacking A-F-R-O
Hijack a cracker jackass in a ransom if he’s asking for cash flow
Fascist radical bastard with a beard who will be casted as Castro
Attacking the assassin with a spear, and put my ashes out on these assholes
You gotta be kidding me, you’re forbidding a battle of God when he got a gas mask on
We swarm”

Quando A-F-R-O apareceu, sob o cosign de R.A. The Rugged Man, rapidamente assumiu Pharoahe Monch como uma das suas maiores influências. Quando este o abençoou com um featuring num instrumental de Marco Polo, A-F-R-O trouxe o seu melhor game de barras rápidas e multissilábicas. Mas a seguir entra Pharoahe e mostra, num tom calmo – quase effortless –, como um veterano rouba o show

[Yasiin Bey] “Oh No” (ft. Pharoahe Monch & Nate Dogg)

“Very contagious raps should be trapped in cages
Through stages of wackness, Pharoahe’s raps are blazin’
And it amazes, me how you claim thug
But go two-ways without Skytel pagers
I’m intellectual, pass more essays/esés
Than motorcade police parades through East L.A
More beef then deli’s
Thus, what I vent is just… (Uh!)
What you lust to vent, it’s irrele’
Huh, hallelujah! Pharoahe Monch’ll do ya!
Maintain the same frame of mind — screw ya!
Get the picture, sit ya, seat ya, greet ya with scriptures
I’m equipped to rip ya, reach ya
Pharoahe and Mos is verbal osmosis
Coast to coast, we boast to be the most explosive here
Ferocious, the lyrical prognosis
The dosage is leavin’ you mentally unfocused here
MC’s — just come on ‘round!
You’re the next contestants on +Catch-A-Beat-Down’!
Don’t be hesitant, sound cracks the sediment
It’s evident we medicine for your whole town
Sky’s the limit, game’s infinite when I’m in it
All windows is tinted, how you seein’ me when I’m in it?
Rap — we got it on lock, man, stop that!
Put that mic back down, boy, drop that!
Pharoahe’s flows blows shows like Afros
We hate y’all though, that’s why Nate Dogg go”

Três das melhores vozes melódicas dos anos 90 num banger que rapidamente se tornou num dos principais sucessos da Rawkus. Por entre rimas afiadas, Pharoahe faz uma das coisas que tornam o seu flow tão único: a sua habilidade de switch gears a meio dum verso e passar de precisão técnica para a soul de um cantor de gospel. Hallelujah

[Masta Ace & Marco Polo] “The Fight Song” (ft. Pharoahe Monch)

“I see no reason to need to disguise what I am
Or surprise you with a clever rhyme
Allow me to shake your hand before I enter your mind
I’m the amalgomation of pain and fatigue
Culminating in your brain, I’m a disease
You never heard of me, you’ll listen
When I attack your spinal cord and weaken your immune system
Excruciating pain, suffering that’s atrocious
For the multitude, I’m multiple sclerosis
Vision loss, so frustrating, you’ll pull hair
Cramps specifically designed for Duval Clear
I’m bicentennial, I’m possessive
I’m a millenial disease, I’m a progressive
I’m enamored with the relationship
I’m obsessive to the point that I hold on to your joints
And won’t let go
Usually move in slow motion
‘Til death do us part, now that’s devotion
You better be dedicated to sedatives and medication
I meditate, educate you on levitation
I move alone, I work clean
Gang up on your blood and crip you, I’m MS-13
I’m comin’ for all races and all rhymers
I’m jealous of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Tryin’ to take my spotlight like diabetes
I’ma make sure these other diseases can’t see me”

Só após quase 20 anos depois de Masta Ace ter sido diagnosticado com esclerose múltipla é que este decide abordar o tema conceptualmente numa música. E para este tema recrutou Pharoahe Monch para escrever um verso contado do ponto de vista da doença. Pharoahe relata os sintomas e efeitos desta condição mas não deixa de ter espaço para um egotrip, como se a própria doença estivesse a competir com outras como Parkinson e Alzheimer.

[Akir] “Apocalypse (Remix)” (ft. Immortal Technique & Pharaohe Monch)

“You have now acquired an Osiris hybrid, word to my third iris
Chip inside my brain projects scriptures onto my eyelids
Celibacy, virtual sex, avoid the virus
Secretive shit that I did will put the city at high risk
The mental is the temple that houses the wisdom
It’s like, Malcolm X calculus amalgamated algorithms
They say ‘Pharoahe, teach me about the system’
N**** boot me in your computer I’ll give you acute astigmatism
See through Windows, Word, Pharoahe’s the Mac Intel
Bit off the Apple, plant seeds, spit crack Excel
Lyrical FireFox, the verbal Explorer
Who metaphors the industry to Sodom and Gomorrah for ya
They profit from water, they’ll profit from oxygen
Pharoahe the prophet says that this is the apocalypse
We livin in these last days, use your optics what the topic is
The coppers got binoculars, they’ll probably try to knock us cause”

“They ain’t never gon’ find this shit, man (…) like the weapons of mass destruction” é o que Immortal Technique diz no final desta hidden track da sua mixtape The Third World. Os sortudos que a conseguiram encontrar recuando quatro minutos na primeira faixa tiveram o privilégio de ouvir Pharoahe a rimar como um vírus (recorrendo ao léxico informático). 


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