Brother Ali

Minnesota's Rhymesayers crew long ago transcended regional status. Its flagship act, Atmosphere, led by rapper Slug, eschewed mainstream trends and won an international fan base in the process. RS member Brother Ali seems destined for the same fate. The albino Muslim rapper has long been considered a lyrical heavyweight, and on his latest solo album, he pulls no punches in his quest for the title of world's greatest MC. If you've heard Ali before, you know what to expect: flurries of jab-like verses leading up to the inevitable knockout punchline, delivered with impressive stamina (just one guest rapper—old-schooler Whipper Whip—appears on The Undisputed Truth). More importantly, Ali's actually saying something in his rhymes. On "Truth Is," he reminds listeners what hip-hop should be: "Our songs are supposed to be the voice of our soul/Not bought and sold, not all controlled/Bring a little fire when the world get cold." On "Daylight," he revels in spirituality, name-checking the Koran and claiming "I talk directly to God." He takes an anti-war b-boy stance on "Letter From the Government," remarking, "You clinically crazy if you think you could pay me a figure that could make me slay these innocent babies." The Undisputed Truth's biggest revelation, however, is Ant's soulful, polished production, over which Ali floats like a butterfly and, yes, stings like a bee.
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Eric Arnold

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