March 21, 2011 Pharoahe Monch Speaks On “I Gave You Power”

Pharoahe Monch Speaks On “I Gave You Power”

Pharoahe’s W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) drops tomorrow, so you all know what you gotta do to support the man. He spoke with TheWellVersed about the album, politics and being inspired by Nas’ It Was Written classic cut…

TWV: You mentioned the Stress album. “Stray Bullet” is fascinating to me. When I hear “Stray Bullet” and then I hear “When The Gun Draws” — it’s kind a continuation on the same extended metaphor. Then you have Nas’s “I Gave You Power” and Tupac’s “Me And My Bitch” where they play off the same themes. And those two are probably the most well known songs using that concept. Have you ever talked Nas about the transition from “Stray Bullet” to “I Gave You Power?” Did he borrow from that or extend on “Stray Bullet?”

PM: Let me see if I can discuss this conversation in an interview…hmmm [Laughs]. I really think in my heart of hearts that great minds think a like and when you have an idea that can change the course of things even slightly, you kind of got to put your Professor X cap on so people won’t tap into your shit. Because I think, even the thought of it puts it into the universe. So, there’s been a lot of topics that we [shared]. Organized had an abortion song [“Invetro”] as well as Nas had an abortion song as well. We had a song called “Hate” with Organized Konfusion. I remember this guy came up to me in the street like, “You stole my shit!” I’m like, “Who are you? I don’t know you.” He was like, “We was rhymin‘ from the perspective of racists!” You know, so, I think for all of the emcees in the world now, you’re going to run into the same metaphors and subject matter. But I love Nas because I like the way he speaks. We were talking one time and he was like, “Yeah, son. We the foundation. We the foundation, know what I’m saying. We got to do some shit. A lot of people be telling me, you know, I be reading shit, shit be similar, you know.” [Laughs]

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