Pharoahe Monch has built a venerable fanbase on intricate, hard-hitting rhymes that few underground hip-hop artists can match. Those fans and much of the New York underground’s finest were packed shoulder to shoulder at SOB’s last night (December 16) for some genuinely organized confusion.
The night started off with opening sets from Brooklynite Devante Myles and Long Island duo Zay & Nat Turner before MC/Sirius XM radio host Torae amped up the crowd, both solo and with an impromptu Barrel Brothers set featuring Skyzoo. After a while, DJ Boogie Blind and host Combat Jack couldn’t hold the crowd back any longer; the fans wanted Monch. After a false start, Pharoahe took the stage in glorious fashion. “How’s everybody doin’ out there?,” he said before he knocked the mic stand down and blew through “Free” as the crowd lost its mind.
New York hip-hop showed out for Monch both on and off the stage throughout the night. He played a 2+ hour set that spanned his whole discography, and included a hefty guest list. Heltah Skeltah’s Rockness performed a joint tribute with Monch to the late Sean Price, Phonte Coleman performed the collab “Black Hand Side” before doing two Little Brother songs, Talib Kweli graced the stage to perform he and Monch’s song “D.R.E.A.M.,” and the mighty Prince Po showed up for a proper Organized Konfusion reunion. Monch even brought out guitarist Marcus Machado for backup on his new song “Watch This,” which he debuted on Beats1 Radio this past weekend.
By the time the Godzilla sample from “Simon Says” boomed through the building, there wasn’t a single stationary body in all of SOB’s. When Pharoahe Monch promises a show, you’re there for a *show*, and he moves the crowd in ways only a Pharaoh can.