Brother Ali: Rhymin’ and Preachin’
On his fourth studio album from Rhymesayers Entertainment, Us, morally and politically motivated MC Brother Ali delivers virtuous, jaw-dropping verses. Drawing on personal experience and historical blemishes, Ali paints vivid pictures of societal glitches and urges listeners to learn from the past in an effort to ensure history does not repeat itself.
His lyrics, which can sometimes be long-winded and repetitive in meter, have a strong message despite hard fronting tracks like “Bad Mufucker Pt. II.” He takes listeners back to his childhood with his unsupportive parents and his misguided gangster exertions involving drugs and theft, all lyrically weaved over a jazzy guitar hook.
Other tracks deliver a positive contrast to the bad boy image he portrays; “The Preacher” opens with messages about a loving family, respecting art, and how the one who follows their dreams is the true leader. He even includes a shout out to Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One’s hip-hop group and a source of major inspiration to Ali and his craft. “The Travelers” is one of the most political tracks on the album as he lucidly recreates the slave trade and society’s spurious attempts to right this wrong.
The album represents a balance between establishment and disassembly, proving Brother Ali is a bright and talented MC with meaningful messages and strong ideas. Conveyed over the head-bobbing beats of Atmosphere’s Ant with electric guitar hooks and intricate medleys, Us is a well-rounded, meaningful hip-hop album that solidifies Brother Ali’s place in the underground hip-hop community.