Thursday, August 9, 2007

Song of the Day - Pharoahe Monch "Welcome to the Terrordome"

Even though I don't listen to as much hip-hop as I would like to (I have no idea why this is true, BTW), I am not one of those people that likes to make declarations like "hip-hop died in [insert year here]" or "hip-hop today isn't nearly as good as it was in [year/decade of your choice]." People who say that shit only say it to make themselves feel better about not paying any attention to hip-hop whatsoever.

The reality is there's still plenty of good hip-hop being made today and some of it is every bit as good as what came out "back in the day." If you need a reminder of this fact, look no further than the latest Pharoahe Monch album, Desire. Nearly eight years after his solo debut (one of the best hip-hop records of the 90's) Pharaohe has finally completed the album that is worthy of following his first act. Though not every moment re-captures the brilliance of Internal Affairs (and let's be honest, having such lofty expectations only sets you up for disappointment), there are some moments throughout Desire's 17 tracks that seriously impress. Today's Song of the Day it definitely one of those moments.

Pharoahe's cover of the classic Public Enemy song "Welcome to the Terrordome" is the perfect cover at the perfect time. With a war in Iraq alienating and infuriating the majority of the country, the erosion of civil liberties, and any number of things from the growing list of fuck ups by the current administration, there's no time like the present to rap about what pisses most of us off. It just so happens that 17 years ago Chuck D. wrote that song better than anyone ever has. Pharoahe Monch knows (himself being a witness to the Public Enemy Hip-Hop Revolution live and in person) there's no better way to voice his anger than to pay homage to the group that taught him music had the power to disrupt the status quo. Chuck D.'s words speak not only to the grievances which make us angry, but also about how anger should give us the power to incite change. Right now, with everything there is to be angry about, I think Pharoahe Monch is wondering why thus far it hasn't taken a nation of millions to hold us back.

No comments: