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Pharoahe Monch

Friday, December 12, Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, 303-297-1772.

It's not easy to travel fast by taking the conscious hip-hop route, as Pharoahe Monch knows from personal experience. He earned acclaim but no platinum as half of the '90s-era hip-hop duo Organized Konfusion, and while his 1999 solo debut, Internal Affairs, became a favorite of the rap intelligentsia (and won him a slot on 2000's Spitkickers tour alongside Common and Talib Kweli), the masses never caught on. He spent subsequent years almost but not quite getting his big break — a possible pact with Eminem's Shady Records never came to fruition — before finally inking with Steve Rikind's SRC Records and issuing his sophomore album, 2007's Desire. Problem is, sales of that disc sputtered, too, and SRC doesn't seem that devoted to furthering his career: While Monch's photo appears alongside that of labelmates Akon and David Banner on SRC's website, his link takes visitors to a bogus page. No wonder his road to success is proving so long.

 
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