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Pharaohe Monch returns with Desire

Pharoahe Monch, Desire

Feature by Jack Foley

NEW York legend Pharoahe Monch, widely accepted as one of the most gifted and provocative lyicists in hip hop, marks his long awaited eight-year return with the release of his second solo album Desire on June 25.

It will be preceded by the Elvis-inspired single Body Baby, which will be released as a single on June 18 proving that Monch has more to his game than the political metaphor-heavy lyrical bombs that he’s best known for.

Desire promises to offer a stunning collection of deeply soulful, heavily political and thought provoking songs that deal with a variety of issues from the war in Iraq to the human cost of Gun trading, to love, sex, survival and George Bush, amongst other themes.

But it’s also designed to take hip hop back to its original form and deliver it back to the people, given that Monch is another genre artist that believes hip hop has lost its way in the mainstream at the moment.

Speaking in support of the album, the legend said: “I just think it shows a sheer disrespect towards Hip-Hop culture not to use the art form to its full capability.

“If you suppress an idea because you think the ‘hood or the chicks aren’t gonna feel it, that’s just sad because creatively there’s an unlimited number of ways to approach song-writing. But Hip-Hop is just so boxed-in right now.”

Since the release of Internal Affairs in 1999, Monche has been caught up in label wrangles, leaving Rawkus, almost signing to Eminem’s Shady Records, moving to Geffen before signing to Steve Rifkind’s (Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep) SRC Records.

But with a guest appearance from Erykah Badu and beats from the likes of Mr. Porter (Kon-Artist of D12), The Alchemist, Detroit’s Black Milk and long-time collaborator Lee Stone, the lyrical king from Queens is definitely looking to move the art form of Hip-Hop forward with Desire.

Aside from the supreme ceaseless lyrical flow, it’s the sheer sonic scale of the album that looks set to impress.

Monch promises a cinematic quality to the music, with the album’s central theme developed through a series of dramatic interludes linking tracks together.

And his anti-gun stance is obvious on such songs as Gun Draws – for which a website has been created www.gundraws.com – and for which the video is rather powerful.

But it’s lead single Body Baby, full of powerful and larger-than-life imagery and a clear ode to Elvis and Tom Jones, that promises to be one of the album’s most daring records.