by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
In a world filled with haters, it seems like people will press the “thumbs down” button on, say, a YouTube video, for reasons even they can’t explain.
But for Pittsburgh hip-hop artist Pharah Phitted, as of June 25, on her last two official music video singles that she uploaded to her YouTube page, “Pick & Choose” and “Call 4 U,” she’s making even the haters press “thumbs up.”
Those two videos had a combined 386 “thumbs ups,” and only 7 “thumbs downs” — in other words, 98 percent of those who voted approved of Pharah’s music.
“What separates me is my innovation and focus,” Pharah, a 2011 graduate of Penn Hills High School, told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “I am uncharted territory. I sing and rap, and I mean I really SANG. I also have such a unique sound that can’t be found anywhere but with me. It’s my niche.”
In “Call 4 U,” Pharah shows off her singing skills for the entire track. She told the Courier she’s been singing since she was 4. “I knew from a young child that I wanted to do music,” she said. “I would sing Deborah Cox and Whitney Houston like you wouldn’t believe! The rap side came a little later in my career, once I started writing poems and it turned into rhymes that turned into songs. It was a nice transition.”
Meanwhile, in her latest video, “Pick & Choose,” Pharah shows off her rapping skills: “I’m too fresh like Listerine, I’m her drug antihistamine, it’s about what you say, don’t matta what you mean, we ain’t come here to play, we came to get paid, that’s yo gift to me, I pop up or pull up on scene…”
For Pharah Phitted, whose real name is Taylor Street, music is more than a hobby or a passion—it’s her calling. After graduating from Penn Hills High School, she attended Seton Hill University for pre-med, but was more into the music than the medicine, and left the university to further pursue her music career. She has maintained a position in the medical field, while, for example, she dropped a track in 2019 to bring awareness to police brutality against African Americans. She posted the track, called “Melanin,” on May 16, six weeks after former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was found not guilty on all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II.
“Whenever you get pulled over better pull out your camera, ‘cause a broken tail light could be your last night, livin’ bad decisions let these cops off regardless of who witness,” Pharah, 27, raps on the track.
Wiz Khalifa, the pride of Hazelwood and Allderdice High School, is an internationally-known hip-hop artist—but he, along with the late Mac Miller, is the exception to the rule when it comes to Pittsburgh hip-hop artists making an imprint on a national level.
It’s not because there isn’t talent in Pittsburgh—there’s plenty—but Pharah tells the Courier that the major record labels are checking first to see if your own city (Pittsburgh) is supporting you.
“It is very hard (to get national recognition) because it is so hard to get love from our own city,” Pharah said. “…It’s just hard to do here because everyone is in competition with each other, when in reality, we are all unique and have our own way of doing things. It’s free to support.”
In addition to performing locally in Pittsburgh, such as a headliner in 2018 for the Pittsburgh Pride Festival, Pharah has networked some 3,000 miles away at the BET Experience in Los Angeles, Calif. Oftentimes, that’s the hustle it takes to get that big break, to become that household name, known to all across the U.S. and beyond.
Pharah believes she’ll get there.
“I have a game plan that, once executed, will lead me right to where I want to be,” she told the Courier. “I just have to understand the journey and prepare for the roller coaster ride. But I am the next big thing. I am the new wave of music. I truly believe that.”
FEATURED IMAGE: PHARAH PHITTED is a singer and rapper making a name for herself in Pittsburgh.