This event right here was definitely enlightening for me. Two things that I’ve got from this event was this: One, the power of ‘NO’ is a powerful statement; and two, it is definitely possible to release an album without any glass ceilings. I can honestly say this: if any of you have listened to the album online when Pharoahe Monch streamed it last week, or have been to any of these album listening events that have taken place recently, you’d agree with me when I say that the album is a pretty damn good one, and I dont think the world is ready for it. There’s so much that has been impacted in this project that it’s definitely over the heads of many other commercial networks, like MTV. They couldn’t possibly comprehend on what’s about to hit the stores on March 22nd.
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There was a good amount of people who came out to hear the album at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in the heart of Downtown LA. The event started a little late because of the technical difficulties that was apparent in the stadium where the Clap (One Day) video was eventually shown. Mystic & DJ Ralph M (from Funkdoobiest) was in attendance to support the Renegade in his efforts.
During the streaming of each song, Pharohe and his manager spoke on how some of the tracks came about. For example, the Clap (One Day) video was sort of a no-brainer. The video itself is too emotional for him to see because of the premise of the story. Then, Pharoahe Monch and his manager spoke on what inspired them to push this album since there were no glass ceilings to deal with (they dealt with past label issues on how Desire was going to be pushed and promoted). They’ve talked about Haile Selassie, the murders of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant and Aiyana Jones, his personal issues like his health (he suffers from asthma), and also his demons he’s been dealing with internally. He also spoke about how his older brother used to be a cop and how they would get into some conflicts on how the police dealt w/street situations. It’s crazy to know every single detail of what’s going on in his mind, and to have him put it out artistically is mindblowing!
One track that stood out to me the most is Still Standing which features Jill Scott. It was made known that Mela Machinko co-wrote the chorus, and it took Jill a number of tries to get what she wanted to put on the track.. perfectly. If I’m correct (according to his manager), I think that during their studio session Pharoahe had an asthma attack, but no one knew about it. He didnt want it to be known because he was so blown away by Jill Scott actually being on the track until after she left… so he stayed until it was finished. It didnt get finished completely, so Jill asked Pharoahe to email the track and she sent it back to him with the finished product. Mind you, im just going off by memory (and my notes). Overall, the event lasted for two hours and it was finished. It was definitely worth being at, and for those that made it to the others, I hope you enjoyed it as well!