Thursday, December 17, 2009


8. Brother Ali- Us
It's hard out there for a pimp. It's harder out there for an overweight, legally blind, albino muslim rapper from Minneapolis. That's Brother Ali. But Ali does not attempt win you with a woe-is-me mentality, he wins you with his versatility, prowess at rhyming, and soul. Jumping from aggro guitar riffs to jazzy Gang Starr-esque backing tracks to gospel choirs to honey encrusted vintage cinema strings, Atmosphere producer Ant bars no holds in his work. As far Ali goes, his chameleon-like transformation from song to song- near-tears romantic to hard ass mc with teeth bared- only serves to illustrate his lyrical ability. As much as "Us" is an aural pastiche of hip hop in the past 20 years, it also has life as a fresh new recording- not quite as genre-bending as K-OS but far less traditional indie rap than Atmosphere. Ali was discovered by Atmosphere's mc and is produced by its dj, and now after four albums, the master-apprentice metaphor seems apt here. This is the part where Darth Vader throws the Emperor down that chute.

1 comment:

  1. Nice use of Star Wars - let's hope Brother Ali doesn't die without his life support system any time soon