“Right Here” is a lyrical showcase by Pharoahe Monch, underpinning his relentless quest to establish Queens–his home turf–on the hip-hop map. In this song, Monch leverages his signature style of punchy, clever lyricism spiced with raw realities derived from his Queens roots.
The song kicks off with a call and response intro, repping various New York boroughs before honing in on Queens. Monch shouts out Uptown, The Bronx, Long Isle (Long Island), Stridong (Strong Island), and Brooklyn, before repeatedly questioning, “where the fuck is Queens?” He answers his own question emphatically, highlighting Queens’ integral place in the NYC hip-hop landscape.
In the first verse, Monch lays down an edgy metaphor of facing off, using wordplay alluding to hockey games, the movie ‘Face Off,’ and car radios embodying the mind of Minolta–a riff on the competition and bravado inherent in the rap game. The line “Face off like Treach if you’re fuckin’ with Vin Rock” is a reference to the tension between members of the hip-hop group Naughty by Nature. He also emphasizes his love for his people as he takes them along on his journey to success, advising them not to “act sane on a record or rap plain”.
Monch’s chorus is simple but powerful. “RAW – if you want it / RAW – yea we got it indeed / Yo actually I’m just tryin’ to eat” – here, Monch is talking about the raw, unpolished nature of his music, and how it’s merely a means to an end – to make a living or ‘eat’ as slang would dictate.
The second verse is a lyrical onslaught with Monch issuing a warning to his competitors in the game. Monch’s wordplay is stellar here, with lines such as, “Basically y’all could get eight twice like Lynn Swann plus get ate like pussy” where he mixes sports references (Lynn Swann, an NFL player who wore the number 88) with double entendre and street vernacular to deliver a clever play on words. He then cleverly introduces a series of horrific imagery to underscore his ruthlessness in the rap game. The line “Have niggaz runnin’ like the Blair Witch Project” adds a touch of pop culture reference to his arsenal, painting a vivid picture of his dominance.
Overall, Monch’s “Right Here” is an aggressive and audacious exhibition of his lyrical prowess, while emphasizing his love and pride for the place he calls home, Queens. The song pays homage to his borough, his roots, and the influences that have shaped his emcee style, further solidifying his place in the pantheon of hip-hop’s elite. An unapologetic lyrical masterpiece that embodies the pulse and rawness of east coast rap.