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LAist Interview: Pharoahe Monch

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With his long awaited sophomore album, Desire racking up favorable reviews from the likes of The Source, Pitchfork, USA Today and The New York Times it's safe to say that Pharoahe Monch is back and better than most would have ever expected. Unlike many in the alternative hip hop scene, the Queens native who made rap fans around the world "Get the fuck up" in 1999 remained relevant despite an eight-year gap in between projects. Monch took time out from the busy schedule of Rock the Bells, which rolls into San Bernardino Saturday, to talk with LAist.

Congratulations on the album, the great reviews are pouring in. What does the praise from the media mean for you especially considering the amount of time that's passed since your last album?

It’s everything man, you don’t do an album with heart and integrity and not want people to take notice. There are some inspirational records, and I want as many people to hear the record as possible. I want it to inspire everyone; artists and fans not just the magazine writers. I knew it would be a slow grind, but it’s been so good to see that there are so many passionate people helping pushing this album. There have been so many people who aren’t just passionate about me as an artist but passionate about this album. They’ve come up to me with stories like, this record made me think about things or this record inspired me.

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How much of the delay in this second album can be attributed to label politics?

Pretty much all of it. I guess when you think about it though I can’t say all of it. When I got out of my label situation I was pretty comfortable so I just wrote and toured. I wasn’t like in a rush, I didn’t need to get a deal right away. I had a lot of offers on the table, but I wanted to go somewhere where it would be purposeful and not all about numbers. I didn’t want to go somewhere where they were like “you should get Scary Spice on your first single.”