Brother Ali

The Undisputed Truth

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Brother Ali, the albino MC signed to Rhymesayers, made a lot of noise when his debut, Shadows on the Sun, came out in 2004, and his follow-up, The Undisputed Truth, just proves that there was a reason for all the acclaim. Ali shows himself to be one of the most talented MCs in contemporary hip-hop, in both the underground or mainstream. Unlike other conscious rappers, he isn't so concerned about proselytizing, about making a point, that he forgets that an important part of hip-hop is having fun and dancing, at least for those few minutes, for those looped 16 bars. Producer Ant only helps complete this undertaking, making old-school-influenced musical beats that taste of funk and rock while still sounding current and accessible. It's a throwback to De La Soul's heyday, when smart, reflective rhymes were just as important as swagger and having fun. Even in the most vitriolic songs on the album (and it's long, clocking in at just over an hour with 15 tracks), Ali never comes across as heavy-handed or preachy. On the bitingly critical "Uncle Sam Goddamn," for example, the MC spits lines like "Talking bout you don't support a crackhead/What you think happens to the money from your taxes?/Sh*t the government's the addict" and "Three out of 12 months your salary pay for that madness" as warm, bouncy bluesy guitar and basslines -- traditional American music -- are picked out and repeated, while on the reggae-inspired "Freedom Ain't Free" he slows down his delivery, which lets the strength of his words come through without him having to sound angry or shout. Ali's a supremely honest rapper, and his sincerity is palpable as he talks about the problems he's faced, the struggles he's overcome, his hopes for the future, his confidence in his own talents. The Undisputed Truth is an album that proves unequivocally Brother Ali's verbal superiority, and the fact that his practiced, good-natured delivery, his intricate, intelligent rhymes, are among the best in the game.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
blue highlight denotes track pick