There are not many truths in this world that are undisputed, but if anyone
can make you into a subscriber of their brand of unquestionable reality, it is Rhymesayers'
Brother Ali. The Minnesota native went from obscurity to relative
stardom with 2003's instant classic Shadows on the Sun (first called
such by yours truly right here).
Ali proved to be an absolutely indomitable beast, bringing
soul bearing narratives and jaw dropping battle raps in a way that can only be
described by the phrase "something to behold." In the years since his seminal Rhymesayers
debut the Brother has sharpened his teeth with 04's golden Champion
EP and an extensive touring schedule that left stunned onlookers
The Undisputed Truth comes at a
pivotal moment for Hip Hop, as honest music is becoming as rare as a snowless
winter in Minneapolis. Just as critical, in this day and age of manufactured,
one-dimensional rappers with the depth of a cardboard cutout, Brother Ali is the genuine article in
every sense of the term. With a few more years of strife on his resume, Ali has taken his already introspective
variety of music and made one of the more personal and moving albums that Hip Hop
has ever seen. After a painful divorce and gaining the custody of his only son,
he makes you feel every emotion that he is trying to convey like you were right
there with him through it all. Over a melancholy beat lead by a regretful
whistle, Ali pens a letter on "Walking
Away" to his ex wife that you'd feel even if you were bathing in Novocain: "fresh out of forced tears, kisses and
hugs/you about to lose the company your misery loves/ain't never did nothin'
but try and kill your disease/at least help the symptoms, instead you infected
me/I'm not the kind of man to draw a line in the sand/if you gotta draw at all
then its time for your to scram." The crazy thing is he only ups the ante
on the following song ("Faheem"), as he turns his speech to his son: "I just pray you don't remember us sleeping
on the floor/and me cleaning mouse droppings outta your toys/it took a lot of
hard for us to get where we at/and young man we ain't quittin' at that."
You've never felt a man's pride as much as you do on this song. The sum of
their parts is put into final perspective as he closes out the album with "Ear
To Ear," which is the proverbial hero's walk into the sunset.