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Listen: Pharoahe Monch Talks Mental Health, Hip-hop Culture & ‘PTSD’

Pharoahe Monch performs on stage during the Big Wig Music Festival at Fort Canning Park on April 6, 2013 in Singapore

Pharoahe Monch performs on stage during the Big Wig Music Festival at Fort Canning Park on April 6, 2013 in Singapore

Rapper Pharoahe Monch recently sat down with The Takeaway to discuss using music to help with trauma and pain.

Through his latest album, PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the complex emcee tackles the rarely explored issue of mental health in African-American and hip-hop communities.

“Monch tells stories that represent painful experiences for him,” says The Takeaway’s John Hockenberry. “But they have also made him a champion for people whose limitations and challenges have never made it into popular culture.”

“You talk about the black community and you even talk about [the] hip-hop community, it’s a very brash and chest-poked-out community,” says Monch. “Something invisible that’s troubling you is difficult to bring up in the first place.”

You’d never know from the way the 41-year-old lyrical genius unleashes a verse, but he has been a long time sufferer of asthma, and the medication he was taking to manage it almost killed him.

He speaks on the experience: “It began when this doctor figured out that this cocktail of medications was affecting me emotionally. I stopped and called my doctor and we re-did the medication and I’ve been out of that fog ever since. I can only imagine the soldiers and what they go through trying to get re-acclimated into regular society, especially now with what we’re seeing with the veterans…”

Take a listen to the full interview segment below and be sure to get Monch’s PTSD now on iTunes.