He may not be as much of a household name as Jay Z or Chuck D, but Pharoahe Monch is certainly one of the most respected names in hip-hop. His former band Organized Konfusion produced three complex, dense albums and his last record, the acclaimed Internal Affairs, garnerned him even more attention.
Now, after a break of six years and collaborations with the likes of P Diddy, Sergio Mendes and Linkin Park, Monch has made his return with Push, a typically articulate and intense number. The horns lend this a radio-friendly air, but Monch hasn't gone down the commercial route. Although the chorus is catchy enough, there's a dark, dramatic air to Push, and the lyrics are patently angry, telling of the struggle of America's poor.
Monch has never seemed to manage to match his critical adoration with commercial success, but if the forthcoming album Desire is anything like this, his time could be very soon indeed.