Brother Ali, Shadows On The Sun
Straight outta the upper Midwest, Brother Ali doles out disses and social commentary like a champ
On the surface this Wisconsin-born, Minneapolis-based MC resembles a one-man wrecking crew, knocking out teeth and dealing bitch-slaps with prizefighter ferocity. But he's not just some one-dimensional battle-rap specialist: he's also one of the most observant sociological commentators in indie rap, not only outwards (inner-city travails in "Room With a View," confronting a wife-beating neighbor in "Dorian") but inwards, playing his appearance (he's a heavy-set albino) both for empathetic pathos and self-deprecating wit. Inside "a cranium that ain't quite shaped right" (per the great “Forest Whitiker”) is a constantly-flowing stream of ideas that, once they spill out onto the mic, are sharp and intricately crafted like a Hattori Hanzo blade.