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Once upon a time New York’s famed “Times Square” was not the neon-flavored Euro-disney knock-off with pedestrian plazas and Starbucks popping up like boils on every corner. The heart of the city used to reflect the angst and tension of its metropolitan denizens. On his new album “P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Queens, NY rhyme veteran Pharoahe Monch takes us down the rabbit whole of his own mental instability and that of his fellow New Yorkers.

On the track “Time2″ (TimeSquared) he embodies a disgruntled worker who has just been relieved of his job and battling his demons.

“In writing for this record I wanted to take from my own experiences as well as other social situations I saw going on in the city at the time that I felt would connect back to the topic,” he tells “When I was writing this guy came out of his job at the Times Square/42nd street area and went to his job and started shooting people. He lost it. I was thinking what level of upset must he have been to react that way…”

Over a dark Marco Polo instrumental Monch narrates the bitter realities of navigating nightmares in the city of dreams.

We fight demons from our past only to face new monsters
I ask, are we comatose or unconscious?

“The first verse is more or less playing with (the idea that) are we living this experience, and when you have a traumatic experience and you’re replaying it in your head and voices are talking to you, is it reality or is it double personality,” says Monch. “What’s actually happening here? I’m just trying to pose some questions in the front of the verse.”

So what personal experience did Monch draw on for this particular narrative? While he didn’t go off on his former employer Mr. Jameson has been fired from jobs before.

“First job I got fired from was actually a dope job,” he recalls. “Me and Prince Po were working at the same company. It was an expensive place that did specially designed  wall paper for extremely rich people. It would be fur wallpaper and stuff. We went to art school so we’d cut out samples of the wall paper to send out across the world and to Beverly Hills.  I pretty much cut up the wrong materials and sent them to the wrong place and..subsequently was fired…”

Watch the next episode of “Rhyme and Reason” to hear more about Monch’s writing process and inspiration for these rhymes.

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When the paint they use to pave the streets is henna
And greener is the grass on the other side
Except for when that other side is geno

Pharoahe Monch Loses His Mind In “Time2″ [EXCLUSIVE]  was originally published on

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