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Pharoahe Monch Desire

It's been nearly eight years since his last proper release. Is Pharoahe pissed? No doubt. On his sophomore full-length-held-up due to record-label legal issues-the rapper exceeds the high standard set by his 1999 debut, Internal Affairs. Like Muhammad Ali after his imposed exile, Monch comes out swinging hard on tracks like "Free," labeling the record industry a modern-day slave plantation. Referencing his Organized Konfusion days, he personifies a bullet on "The Gun Draws," firing shots at America's violence-saturated culture. On the Tower of Power-driven single, "Push," he sounds inspired. Muzzled for far too long, Monch has returned with a passion that will satisfy heads seeking alternatives to ringtone rap and prefab rage.

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