Brother Ali

The Truth Is Here

posted March 09, 2009 11:17:38 AM CDT | 58 comments

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Some have called Brother Ali's [click to read] Shadows on the Sun [click to read] a powerful album; a stellar release full of raw potency that showcased a breakdown of self with introspective splendor. His follow up, The Undisputed Truth [click to read], took the broken pieces to rebuild Ali, tying loose ends, answering questions and showing the joy of a man who succeeded despite hardship. In between, The Champion EP was a bridge to that victory. Now, The Brother is unveiling The Truth is Here, a new EP containing the next chapter of this celebrated emcee's career, where he is able to unwind with rhymes still as intricate as ever.

The greatness of Ali has always been his autobiographical approach, which is evident from the jump on "Real as Can Be." The song, including interesting tidbits on tour stops and tragedy, gives Ali the chance to announce that he's "got a brand new baby daughter on the way." The strength is still evident on "Philistine David," where he is unafraid to add melodious hooks to complement his knock out flow in a rhyme about perseverance. Another significant quality in his repertoire has also been his versatility. Whether discussing suicide ("Palm the Joker"), faith ("Good Lord"), or love ("Baby Don't Go"), the rapping is always on point with elaborate rhyme patterns and forceful delivery. Slug's appearance is an added bonus, as the two trade bars on "The Believers."

If it ain't broke, why fix it? The Brother Ali/Ant union is still alive. While there may be an addition of other producers in the upcoming Ali album, this EP is fortunately full of Ant's fingerprints. The smooth Jazz of "Real As Can Be" is followed by the more upbeat "Philistine David." Where the samples in "Palm the Joker" permeate the track with Soul, the piano's keys on "Good Lord" infuse the track with a buoyant tempo rarely heard on Ali songs. "Baby Don't Go" manages to fuse those two together, a soulful song full of bounce. Speaking of bounce, the bass on "Talkin' My Shit" adds to the smooth vibe that is prominent on the backend of the album. "Begin Here," the finale, is simply Ant at his best, flexing elaborate samples with a rough, calm drum pattern that allows Ali to bow and close the curtains to a standing ovation.

Ali has disassembled his life, put it back together and put it all on wax. He's shown us his darkest and most joyous of moments in a way rarely seen in rap. Matching skill with candor and introspection with an intimidating delivery, he's consistently crafted praise-worthy releases. This is no different. The Truth is Here is another chapter in this edition of Brother Ali's autobiography, one that begs for the pages to continue to be turned. On this album, Ali says "If you ain't really thinking 'bout the things that you say/Then don't call me a hater when I feel the same way." It's only clear that Ali truly does care about what he says and gives enough reason for any Hip Hop fan to do the same.

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