Whether he's comparing record companies to slave masters, reciting, then replying to Chuck D in an updated Welcome To The Terrordrome cover or cracking wise about John Ritter's death, Pharoahe Monch has returned after an eight-year absence with an album on a par with his classic debut, Internal Affairs.
Without sacrificing his screwball humour (hear him rap about the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy crew giving you a drive-by feng shui arrangement) and syntactic acrobatics, the lyricist adds heart with songs like the uplifting Hold On, with Erykah Badu, and the didactic story rap Trilogy. Fortunately, even his more "conscious" tracks escape sappiness with their originality.
I love some songs more than others, but Desire is still the sort of album whose worst songs could annihilate the best tracks on most other rap records. That's even true of the 30-second skit that leads into his single, Body Baby, in which a surreal flip through the radio drives Pharoahe's brief but hilarious take on ig'nant mainstream rap.