Music News

Pharoahe Monch

Coming off an eight-year recording hiatus with a thing or two to prove, Queens, New York, MC and early '90s underground hip-hop phenom Pharoahe Monch delivers a poetically flawless product with his second solo release, Desire.

Central to the disc's impact is Monch's seamless mastery of fusing words to render distinct visualizations. Beyond the frequent vocabulary lessons and complex rhyme patterns, the literary lyricist elevates hip-hop songwriting to another level with gripping narratives and thematic concepts that will engage listeners to press rewind. On "When the Gun Draws," Monch innovatively raps from the firsthand perspective of a bullet in flight, and on "Trilogy," he weaves a compelling tale of deceit, infidelity, and revenge in a ten-minute track told as three stories riding three different beats, all of which were produced by D12's Mr. Porter. Oh, and the story line he slings unfolds in reverse. Monch can get political at times, but his politics never overshadow the strength of the music. He does justice to Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome" by introducing an updated verse to the electric guitar licks and "wicked" drums for today's Guantanamo generation.

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Braden Ruddy