Pharoahe Monch: Desire 

I'm no elitist when it comes to hip-hop. Most of the better mainstream jams come strapped with excellent production, innovative beats and boundless posturing. Mims and the Shop Boyz make you move and feel flawless doing it. They help fill a void of the lighter side of rap in which there's little agenda outside of shakin' that ass.

On the flipside, I also respect the more cerebral side of the beats, rhymes and life. And I can really dig my teeth into the records that know how to bring the ruckus to the lecture. Liquid Swords, Deltron 3030 and now Desire are a few of the classics that maintain their sickness. Eight years on the low, the Pharoahe strikes back with one of the greatest hip-hop albums in years. Gospel, blues, R&B and metal all serve as sonic canvases for Monch's brush-stroke lyricism.

"I give birth to verses in churches with no confession / So please pardon my post-partum depression / A-list MC to spit into C-Sections / For immature minds to get it with each lesson." This little taste is from the jump-off track "Free," and the science just continues to fall out all over the album. The production is perfect and is best appreciated when played loud. Some whose ears have been turned on more by what's currently drawing the most heat may not get it on the first listen but, hey, stay steadfast. Play it again and again and just listen. You may end up on my side, believing Desire could easily be the hip-hop record of the year(s).

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