It’s official: Pharoahe Monch is the ‘international act’ at this year’s edition of Back To The City.
The man who gave us Internal Affairs and the three-piece: Desire, W.A.R and PTSD, is making his way back to South Africa, joining the very extensive line-up of artists who are set to rock the stage at Mary Fitzgerald Square on Freedom Day.
For hip-hop fans across the world, Pharoahe has the distinction of being the fan’s rapper, the rapper’s rapper and the rapper’s rapper’s rapper — all of whom listen to, mimic and respect his intricate rhyme scheme, otherworldly delivery and sincere crooning. And he’s no stranger to SA. In 2012 and then in 2014, Monch performed in Cape Town and Soweto, respectively. He did that both times alongside Jean Grae. In 2014 Pharoahe had just dropped PTSD, a highlight of which was a song where he accurately proclaimed that, like Brooklyn and the Bronx, Joburg and Cape Town were The Jungle.
“He’s about that struggle, that urban life struggle that young people go through…” Rashid Kay, one of the organisers of Back To The City, says of Pharoahe, adding that the Simon Says rapper is going to perform all his classics.
For the older heads, acts like Pharoahe Monch and Jeru Da Damaja, Cappadonna and all the other ‘international’ acts who’ve graced the BTTC main stage, it’s about nostalgia, Rashid said.
“Every year, we sit down and agree on which international act to bring. Pharoahe is one of those guys who, when you attend hip-hip sessions, and you’re a hip-hop head, you know [songs] that you can sing along to [like Simon Says]. So it’s not for your radio heads, or your igmorant heads, it’s for the hp-hop heads [that we booked Pharoahe]” he added.
The 12th Annual Back To The City is set to be a dope one. You can expect to rock out and see Her Highness Rouge, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Emtee, Okmalumkoolkat, Riky Rick, Stogie T, Youngsta CPT, A-Reece, Yugen Blakrok, Big Star, Shane Eagle. But the highlight, for us at least, is Kid X’s set which promises to be crazy on account of him bringing out Maskandi group uShwi Nomtekhala as well as the Outrageous Records tribute by H20, Zubz, ProVerb and Optical Ill.
Tickets are available at Computicket.