Troy Jamerson, better known as Pharoahe Monch, is a rapper from Queens, New York—both a solo artist and one half of the rap duo Organized Konfusion. Though never having significant mainstream success, Monch is often considered one of the best lyricists of all time, known for his complex rapping technique and intelligent lyrics.
In the late ‘80s, Monch and friend Prince Po originally formed a duo named Simply II Positive MCs, with Po as the lone rapper and Monch just contributing as a beatboxer. Upon realizing how skilled he was as an emcee, Monch decided to rap as well, and the pair eventually recorded a demo with producer Paul C. The pair soon caught Def Jam’s attention, and ultimately changed their name to Organized Konfusion upon the label’s suggestion. The Def Jam deal did not pan out—and despite producer Paul C’s murder in 1989—they signed a deal with Hollywood BASIC in 1991. Their eponymous debut album was released and met with critical acclaim.
The group would go on to release two more albums, both of which were critically acclaimed, yet failed to garner sales. Because of this, Po and Monch parted ways, and Monch embarked on a solo career in 1997.
With a new deal on Rawkus Records, Monch went on to release his solo debut Internal Affairs in 1999. The project’s lead single, “Simon Says,” was a moderate hit on Billboard and was featured on the film soundtracks for Charlie’s Angels and Boiler Room. A lawsuit stemming from an uncleared sample on the song caused a halting in the album’s distribution. Monch wouldn’t release another album for eight years.
To date, Pharoahe Monch has released four solo albums, with the most recent being 2014’s PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.