I was living in a nightmare when Pharoahe Monch around he time dropped his W.A.R. album in 2010. Everything had gone wrong and I was walking alone towards and uncertain future. I needed this record then, but I also wasn’t ready to hear it. When it came to me today through a cosmic crossroads of social media links, I now know that it wouldn’t have carried the same weight with me back then. I walked past Pharaohe on the way to one of my first official hip hop journalism gigs back in ’91. He was one of my favorite interview subjects 8 years later when I was planting roots at Blaze Online. And he remembered me from that same interview when I ran into him in Union Square just before I left NYC for LA a good seven years later. His lyrics represent the kind of artistry I aim for: always vivid, frightening complex and ferociously raw. This one’s been on repeat all night. I think I’ll crank it up again tomorrow too. I think I’m ready to listen to hip-hop again, which a good thing.