Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Top Ten of 2007: Pharoahe Monch - Desire

Music theory has provided a blanket code for mass orchestrations for hundreds of years. From Brahms to something as primitive as The Who theoretical composition is essentially a guide line to modern music. Except perhaps in one specific area, hip-hop. Dialect and lyrical intellect are the most basic backing of rap music and thus this difference creates a vast counterpoint between rap and other modern musics. To support this otherwise unbacked claim, one only need look toward acclaimed lyricist and rapper Pharoahe Monch. Through his own miraculously well respected and financially profitable career he has been involved in a plethora of various projects. From the vastly unknown Organized Konfusion to his own solo endeavors which include tracks with a variety of movies and two very well received albums. His second release 'Desire' takes cues from all of his previous releases making perhaps his greatest achievement yet.

pharoahe monch

Critics of hip-hop often draw on the genres stagnance as their main point of criticism. Typical verse/chorus structure that draws on numerous clich├ęs of blunts, booze, and bitches. 'Desire' is covering more ground than any other 2007 release besides Time of Orchid's beautiful 'Namesake Caution'. Public Enemy covers, densely soulful vocal pieces featuring Monch himself singing and theatrical epics on par with R. Kelly's 'Trapped in the Closet'. All of these pieces come together to create one fluid movement of music that represents what a great rap album is suppose to do: reflect an individual's personal interests in a consciously aware manner. Highlights are essentially every track; "What It Is?" is a visceral 'fuck you' to Monch's critics and an amazing display of his bizarre vocal technique. "Hold On" is an excellent R&B inflected track featuring one of 2008's rising stars, Erykah Badu. All of the bases are covered on this record in regards to structure and sound. 'Desire' is all anyone could ask from a modern rap album.

pharoahe monch's 'desire'

Although, 'Desire' is an amazing record the story of Monch and his recording career is admirable in its own right. Organized Konfusion was a monster of a group that probably is in the top three rap groups of the early '90s. 'Internal Affairs' and the Godzilla sampling controversy were an interesting time and with 'Desire' it seems Monch has finally found a level of popularity that is large, but not consistent with people out of the know. Artistically, it seems as if he has finally reached a place where he belongs. An impressive feat for a rap artist that is basically known around the world for telling girls to 'rub on them titties'.

Pharoahe Monch - 'Desire' (2007)

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