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Pharoahe Monch at Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL)

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DJ Boogie Blind of the X-Ecutioners kicked off Pharoahe Monch’s set with an extended hype-session that prepared the crowd for the energy that would eventually exude from the stage. After announcing that there would be an upcoming Organized Konfusion tour–Monch’s group with Prince Po that recently reformed after disbanding in 1997–the emcee hit the stage with his backup singers Showtyme and MeLa Machinko, kicking the set off with “Let’s Go.”

Later the group went through a series of songs including “Free,” “Fuck You,” “Agent Orange” and “Right Here” before DJ Boogie Blind again took the spotlight for a freestyle scratch-session. After announcing that his next record, tentatively titled W.A.R. (Let My People Go), would be produced by the brilliant Alchemist, Monch and his backing trio nailed both “Desire” and “Pushin’,” both from his 2007 release Desire. After Monch, Showtyme and Machinko had left the stage completely, DJ Boogie Blind stepped out from behind his decks and teased an encore to the crowd, one that finally materialized in the form of Monch’s biggest single to date: “Simon Says” from his 1999 solo debut Internal Affairs. Between the massive crowd that gathered for DOOM and the generous response that was given to Monch, Pitchfork might do well next year to include more than a brief taste of hip hop.