Pharoahe Monch | W.A.R.

Duck Down (2011)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  March 31, 2011
4.0 4.0 Stars

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If rap fans were willing to worship shit from this century, then W.A.R. would already be considered one of the greatest discs of all time. Monch is the most versatile cat rapping, at once commercial and underground, hardcore and melodic, street and polished. Despite having been a paradigmatic MC's MC since before Illmatic, he's also one of the few rhyme savants in history whose heat hasn't altogether missed the (m)asses. That said, his prior solo work has been slightly off — 1999's Internal Affairs lacked the aural honey Monch sticks to best, and 2007's Desire exhausted in the opposite direction, suffering from over-glossed production. Here the Queens genius finds complete comfort over sounds that are simultaneously familiar and adventurous. Australia's M-Phazes is the beat hero, though Marco Polo slides through with the album's toughest cut — a title track that floats on Vernon Reid guitar riffs and an NSFW Immortal Technique hook. Every last song wins, from the bounce-happy "Hitman" to the church-ready "Let My People Go"; even the features click without a hitch. Whether he's in onomatopoetic punch-line mode or scratching the Cee Lo end of his terrific range, Monch is hip-hop's superlative talent, and now he has a solo stripe to prove it.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Pharoahe Monch, Pharoahe Monch,  More more >
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