The Underrated: Pharoahe Monch- Desire

Released: June 26, 2007

1. Intro 
2. Free
3. Desire featuring Showtyme 
4. Push featuring Showtyme, MeLa Machinko, and Tower of Power
5. Welcome To The Terrordome
6. What It Is 
7. When The Gun Draws featuring Mr. Porter
8. Let's Go featuring MeLa Machinko
9. Body Baby
10. Bar Tap featuring MeLa Machinko
11. Hold On featuring Erykah Badu
12. So Good
13. Trilogy featuring Mr. Porter, Dwele, and Tone Trezure

Pharoahe Monch is one of the most slept on artists in hip hop in general, providing lyrical aggression, a conscious message in between his creativity, while representing the essence of the culture. A long time veteran in the game since he arrived with Organized Konfusion, Monch has created a legacy through his consistency. His solo catalog is quite impeccable, but to me, he released a near classic back in 2007 with his "Desire" album. The album, coming 8 years after his solo debut "Internal Affairs", was introspective and inspiring, even featuring gospel elements in pieces.

From the opening of the album, with the Millie Jackson sampled "Free" allowing Monch to look at the industry, the game, and the world in general, there is an almost revolutionary undertone. When we arrive at the inspirational title track, produced by The Alchemist, the message is clear: this is music to awaken, uplift, and feed our culture of hip hop. Lyrically, Monch floats over the smooth sampled track, while a resounding gospel-esque hook carries the song even higher.

When this album dropped, there was a bit of controversy around the song "When The Gun Draws", which has Monch taking the role of a gun as he paints a picture that bullets have no name, and no one is ever "safe" essentially. The album, does take a brief turn to fun territory, on "Bar Tap", as Monch tries to drunkenly spit game to a young lady in the bar. The song is powered by MeLa's simple but infectious bridge/hook along with the head nodding beat. Monch took a momentary detour from his inspirational and rebellious message, and the result works. He goes right back to his uplifting message with the Badu assisted "Hold On", which is written to instill the message of self love and embracing what you were born as and with. He speaks of a darkskinned girl that was teased because of her skin color, letting the insults and disrespect affect her psyche. This song is necessary, even in today's society considering what we witness on a daily.

As we reached the end of the album, Monch takes one last detour from the message to create the sexually charged "So Good", before ending the album on the ultimate highnote(musically) with "Trilogy", a three part song that tells the scene of Monch committing murder as he finds out his best friend is sleeping with his wife. Act 1 is the reflection on how it started, as Monch is backed by Mr. Porter on the hook, who sets the scene with "cops coming, shots fired", as Monch frantically goes through his verse, before moving onto the beautiful Act 2, which features Dwele on the hook and a horn driven track. Dwele sets the scene here with the "he put the gun in my hand... told me go take my revenge...", the HE in question likely being the voice in Monch's head or his anger. Monch explains what occurred as he has both his best friend and wife tied up before murdering them. Act 3 shows Monch at his most paranoid, speaking about a plot to take him for his royalties, looking to justify what took place in his own mind. Tone Trezure hits with the hook, in an almost remorseful tone, adding an extra element of emotion to the song.

Overall, this album shines lyrically and production wise, not to mention, it has an overall theme and meaning. Monch created an amazing album that tends to be overlooked. In the year of 2007, there were very few albums that could even compare to this one. If you've never listened to it, I suggest you check it out.



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