South Jamaica, Queens, native Pharoahe Monch displayed limitless potential as a thought-provoking MC following his split with Prince Po, the more boisterous half of the angst-ridden underground duo Organized Konfusion. But topping 1999's club-thumping anthem "Simon Says" has proved difficult for the Egyptian-themed rhyme-slinger. After his Rawkus solo debut Internal Affairs put him on the map as somebody who can "sodomize the bass line" (and turn sexual assault into an extended metaphor), Pharoahe, born Troy Jamerson, left the world of trigger-happy hip-hop with one burning question: Is he a major-leaguer or a farm-teamer? An underrated beat-knocker and lyricist, Monch remains a street-wise ranconteur whose scant but scorching output still makes him a viable component of the unfortunately named Breed Love Odyssey Tour, which also boasts Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Jean Grae. Combining forces, the powerhouse lineup throws down enough monster-movie samples to raise Boris Karloff's mummy from the dead. As Pharoahe himself once said: "Even with doorknobs, you couldn't handle this."
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