Minneapolis bred Brother Ali, the Albino with the mostest, is the new crown prince of hip hop. While Slick Rick set the bar pretty high with his oft-imitated, but never duplicated, classic debut album The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick The Ruler, Ali rises to the challenge with his, under-rated, slept on debut, Shadows On The Sun.
Bringing back that real storytelling prowess and fun times mixed with social consciousness, Minneapolis bred Ali, has come to save hip hop from shallow, degrading, mediocrity. With his Rhymesayers’ release this practicing Muslim harks back to the golden era when an emcee could tell you a tale and make you feel it. See the tracks “Win Some, Lose Some” (where he recounts getting jumped by a group of white guys), or “Bitchslap” (a cautionary tale about coming between a battered woman and her man), and you’ll see that this ain’t no ordinary, Radio Friendly negro with a microphone.
And it doesn’t stop there.
“Forest Whitiker”, a playful, blues-style cut that has Ali waxing poetic about his god-given looks, is crafted to help you look in the mirror and see the real you before taking to heart what magazines and commercials want you to believe. “Back Stage Pacin’” a lively, up tempo number, serves as a reality teevee check, behind-the-scenes look at the life of the independent musician, the promoters who put on the shows, and the rookies who want their props without paying their dues. Then there’s “Prince Charming”. A love story with a twist, that you’ll just have to hear to believe.
As a member of the Rhymesayers camp, he doesn’t forget the backpacking, true MC types that make up his fan base, either. “Blah Blah Blah” Featuring Slug, “Champion” and “When The Beat Comes In” all come correct with verbal wordplay that would make Rakim and Eminem proud. Arguably one of the best albums to come out in a long time, with lyrics, beats and an emcee who knows the true meaning of the word, Shadows is the record you’ve been waiting to hear. Don’t sleep on the Brother!