When The Gun Draws (Dirty)
Label: Src Records
Monch reclaims his throne as hip-hop's most gifted emcee with his first album in eight years. Whether he's aping Chuck D's flow on "Welcome to the Terrordome" or rhyming from the perspective of a bullet on "When the Gun Draws," Monch is stunning. His thick wordplay and creeping metaphors make him the emcee most likely to wear out your remind button, but he's also conceptually adventurous (check the nine-minute prog-hop epic "Trilogy"). Musically, the album is robust -- occasionally veering away from dry hip-hop formalism and embracing worldly pop -- but the real draw here is Monch.