Album due later this year.

Indie rapper Pharoahe Monch is set to release his sophomore album, “Desire,” through a new deal with the Universal-distributed label, Street Records Corporation (SRC). Due later this year, the album features Justin Timberlake, among others, and was produced by Lee Stone and Denaun Porter.

Rifkind, who also founded the now-defunct Loud Records, formed SRC three years ago through a joint venture with Universal. According to Rifkind, SRC won a bidding war between Bad Boy, Eminem’s Shady Records, and Sony over Monch’s new material. “He’s been around for a long time,” Rifkind tells Billboard.biz. “I heard his music and pretty much signed him on the spot.”

The first commercial single from Monch’s new offering will be “Push,” and the single, “When the Gun Draws,” which Monch calls “a concept record about life from the perspective of a bullet,’” will be released in May, along with a short film.

“On a creative and business level, I’ve never been this excited,” says Monch. “I’ve had the time to work on this album, and being a perfectionist, it’s really come to fruition. It’s very soulful, very gospel, a fresh, new sound for me. It shows so much growth spiritually, almost as if I’m a new artist. When I play the record for people, that’s how they hear it.”

After recording three albums as one-half of Organized Konfusion, Monch mutually split from partner Prince Poetry to pursue a solo career. “Desire” will the follow-up to Monch’s 1999 Rawkus debut, “Internal Affairs,” which peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and has sold 236,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

“I’ve learned that it was best for me to wait for the best situation,” says Monch. “Everything happens for a reason. This is my expression and creation. I know people are waiting for this album, and I respect my fans enough to put out quality music.”

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