After 2011′s thematically scattershot, lyrically inconsistent W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), it would have been sufficient for Pharoahe Monch’s followup PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to have been merely solid. Something on the level of, say, 2007′s underrated, heavy-hitting Desire would’ve been plenty. Instead, what we get from Monch is something deeper and more conceptual: a case study in how one allegorically semiautobiographical narrator attempts to overcome his traumatic experiences.
Whether those experiences come from mental health struggles (“Losing My Mind”), drug addiction (“Broken Again”), the dignity-sapping downward spiral of economic uncertainty (“Time2″), or the overarching corruption of contemporary society (“Eht Dnarg Noisulli”), they are unified by Monch’s attention to detail, where even the knotty metaphors and pop-culture-joke tangents fit the puzzle. His internal-rhyming brilliance has made him a secret-weapon influence on everyone from Eminem to Earl Sweatshirt, and PTSD serves as a gripping reminder of what the father of countless styles can do when nothing holds him back.