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Pharoahe Monch Biography


Home > Music > P > Pharoahe Monch > Biography


Birth Name: Troy Donald Jamerson
Born: 1972/10/31
Birth Place: Queens, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1989-present
Genres: Hip Hop, Alternative Rap


Troy Donald Jamerson (born October 31, 1972,) better known by his stage name Pharoahe Monch, is an American hip hop artist. He is known for his complex lyrics, complex delivery, and internal and multisyllabic rhyme schemes. Pharoahe Monch's name is derived from the monkey doll Monchhichi. After receiving a bad haircut, which left Monch looking like a "chimpanzee," girls in Monch's class at the High School of Art and Design began calling him "Monchhichi," which was later shortened to "Monch." Monch adopted the "Pharoahe" prefix after meeting future Organized Konfusion partner Prince Po.

Monch released three albums as part of the rap duo Organized Konfusion with partner Prince Poetry, the self-titled “Organized Konfusion,” “Stress: The Extinction Agenda” and “The Equinox.” The duo handled a large amount of production on these albums themselves. All albums received positive critical reviews, but moderate sales. As a result, the duo split up after recording their final album “The Equinox” in 1997.

Pharoahe Monch then signed to the independent Rawkus Records label. After making several guest appearances on albums like the Rawkus compilation “Soundbombing II,” Monch's debut, “Internal Affairs” was released in 1999. The first single of the album, "Simon Says," became a hit single, peaking at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also featured in the 2000 cinematic releases “Charlie's Angels” and “Boiler Room.” Despite its success, the song caused controversy when Monch was later sued for the song's use of a sample from Akira Ifukube's Gojira Tai Mosura for the hook. The uncleared sample use caused a halting in his album's distribution.

After “Internal Affairs” and the controversy from his hit song Pharoahe would not release another solo project for several years. In 2000 he was featured with Mos Def and Nate Dogg on the hit song "Oh No" from the Rawkus compilation record “Lyricist Lounge 2.” He contributed the song "F**k You" to the “Training Day soundtrack” in 2001, and rapped the theme song to the video game Madden NFL 2002. In 2003 Pharoahe released his final single through Rawkus Records, "Agent Orange," a war inspired song which revisited the 1991 Organized Konfusion track "Releasing Hypnotical Gases".

Monch announced a deal with Street Records Corporation, home of Wu-Tang Clan, David Banner and Terror Squad. In June 2007 Monch released his second solo album “Desire” to critical acclaim. The album's lead single was the self-produced track "Push," with "Let's Go" as its B-Side.

Monch also produced and ghost-wrote the track "The Future" and ghost-wrote the track "Hold Up" with Mobb Deep member Havoc on rap mogul Diddy's latest album “Press Play.” Critics contest that Monch's writing is evident in both the content and the delivery of Diddy's rhymes.

Pharoahe Monch released his third solo album “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)” in March 2011. It featured guest appearances from Jill Scott, Styles P, Citizen Cope, Jean Grae, Royce da 5'9", Immortal Technique, Vernon Reid, Phonte, Mr. Porter, Mela Machinko, Showtyme & DJ Boogie Blind. The album featured production by Exile, Marco Polo, M-Phazes, Fatin, Diamond D, Mike Loe, Samiyam, Adam Deitch, Eric Krasno and Pharoahe Monch himself. Four singles have been released from the album, "Shine," "Clap (One Day) ," "Black Hand Side" and "Assassins.”