Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pharoahe Monch Week, Day 3: Desire

Pharoahe Monch's second album, "Desire", came eight years after his critically acclaimed 1999 debut "Internal Affairs". I haven't bumped this one in quite some time, so let's see how it holds up today.

Release date- June 26, 2007 (one day after my  birthday!)

1. Intro
Produced By: Pharoahe Monch

A very brief verse sung about freedom begins the album.

2. Free
Produced By: Bo McKensie

What a high powered, apply titled, guitar laden opener this was. At this point in his career, Pharoahe definitely declared his freedom, even after the success of his debut.You can clearly hear it all through this song too.
*5 out of 5*

3. Desire (Featuring Showtyme)
Produced By: The Alchemist

Another apply titled song here, an Alchemist produced banger with a nice touch of soul. Pharoahe, as usual, is lyrically sharp throughout,, proving that he still had the desire in him, even though he had been away from the scene for nearly 10 years at that point.
*5 out of 5*

4. Push (Featuring Showtyme, Mela Machinko and Tower of Power)
Produced By: Pharoahe Monch

This uplifting song stressing to keep it going no matter what was fast paced, but still excellent.
*4 out of 5*

5. Welcome To The Terrordome
Produced By: Sean C & LV

This was an excellent remake of the Public Enemy classic, as well as a homage to the legendary Chuck D, whom I'm sure liked this song. The first verse saw Pharoahe deliver Chuck's lines verbatim from the predecessor, while the second verse was new, and he still found a way to incorporate more of Chuck's memorable lines to close the song. We sadly don't see homages like this anymore.
*5 out of 5*

6. What It Is
Produced By: Pharoahe Monch and Lee Stone

This may be one of the most obvious questions you can ask, but Pharaohe's lyrical presentation here simply makes you sit back, listen, and think. Pretty good.
*4 out of 5*

7. When The Gun Draws (Featuring Mr. Porter)
Produced By: Mr. Porter

Remember Nas' "I Gave You Power" where he delivered a classic conceptual song from the perspective of a gun? Check this out, Pharaohe brings back his familiar conceptual vision, this time coming from the perspective of a bullet and everything related. Sadly this is not well remembered, but it must be heard to be appreciated.

8. Let's Go (Featuring Mela Machinko)
Produced By: Black Milk

Revisiting this one, there's a slight party vibe all around, but it still bangs and Pharoahe comes through with tight lyrics as usual.
*4 out of 5*

9. Body Baby
Produced By: Pharoahe Monch and Mr. Porter

Well, this song was different from the previous eight songs, no doubt. It's not wack, I won't say it's out of place, it's just there. It has more of a party vibe than "Let's Go". Let's continue on.
*3 out of 5*

10. Bar Tap (Featuring Mela Machinko)
Produced By: Black Milk

It wasn't unusual for a "ladies track" to come from Pharoahe, and this was a very good one, keeping it classy with a hip hop flair (not swag) at the bar.
*4 out of 5*

11. Hold On (Featuing Erykah Badu)
Produced By: Lee Stone

Whether Pharoahe and Ms. Badu were talking about hip hop (in the form of a lovely woman), women in general, or both (my vote is the former), this is such a nice, appropriately titled song.
*5 out of 5*

12. So Good
 Produced By: Pharoahe Monch

 This song is SO good that you can interpret it in two ways. The ladies would feel it's a song solely intended for them, while the fellas would say Pharoahe is "making love" to the track, albeit with very soulful, lyrical vibes. 
*4 out of 5*

13. Trilogy
Act 1 (Featuring Mr. Porter)
Act 2 (Featuring Dwele)
Act 3 (Featuring Tone Trezure)

Produced By: Mr. Porter

This "trilogy" was all over the place in a way, but overall it was still good.
*4 out of 5*

This album is a LOT better than what I remembered. While it's not a sophomore jinx, nor is it better than "Internal Affairs", Pharoahe still delivered an excellent album, another 4.5 star one. His "desire" still remained, showing and proving that it never went anywhere. It certainly was one of the most slept on albums in 2007, and considering the direction hip hop was already going in, it fell so far under the proverbial radar that's it's not even funny, and it's quite sad an album like this didn't receive the recognition it deserved. If you haven't heard this or possibly was on the fence about checking it out, I'd recommend it, strongly.

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