Pharoahe Monch: Desire

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By: Chris Pacifico

It’s been almost eight years since Pharoahe Monch‘s last full length, the incredible Internal Affairs, an album that left many of us walking around in the summer of 1999 obnoxiously but awesomely spouting, “Simon says get the fuck up!” Monch’s first verse on Desire (Universal Motown/Street Records) goes, “Your A&R is the house/The label is the plantation/Now switch that advance for your emancipation.”

Not only does he have a hot line of guests but also mixed things up a bit production wise. The title track with The Alchemist is hands down a club staple for the year, and the ’70s super soul combo Tower of Power steps in to lend a horns to the nominally gospel “Push”. “What It Is” is a humming, small thud of a jaunt that is as petrifying as it is street smart. Grab Bag favorite MC-producer Black Milk shows listeners the 21st century sound of Motor City soul that has seeped into hip hop, spearheaded by the late J Dilla. “When the Gun Draws” sheds light on the flow of firearms flooding urban America.

Even various parties produced most of the tracks it’s apparent that Monch was meticulous in who he chose for each specific track. As a whole, Desire has the feel of The Lox combined with Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly, a little bit of good old Teddy Pendergrass (“So Good”) and just about every good moment from every Common album made in this decade.

It is said that a bidding war was the culprit for the lengthy gap between Internal Affairs and Desire, but, in that time Monch obviously re-did some things until they were just right. Listeners and critics often piss and moan about the waiting game that sometimes needs to be endured for an album to see the light of day but if the artist cuts a record like Desire then having to watch the clock for eight years ain’t no thang.

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