Shadows on the Sunby Brother Ali
"We don't have bar mitzvahs," raps Brother Ali on "Room With a View," "we become men the first time our father hits us." There's a lot of anger and pain behind the sophomore (and first CD) release by the self-described "urban Norman Rockwell", but Brother Ali chooses not to wallow in self-pity. Instead, his carefully observed lyrics draw on his Muslim faith and his personal experiences, including the self-esteem issues he has faced as a heavy-set albino, to convey a positive message of transcending rage and overcoming self-doubt. Brother Ali is an articulate MC with a strong technique and an appealing personality; he's introspective, righteous, and proud without seeming humorless, self-righteous, or overbearing. You'll hear some braggadocio on this album, but Brother Ali demonstrates in "Win Some Lose Some" that he's willing to admit when he got his ass whooped. He also critiques male possessiveness in the ironic, laid-back "Prince Charming," which features a smooth-talking narrator who reveals through his own words that he's really a creepy stalker. Other tracks address topics such as spiritual power, domestic abuse, and, of course, wack MCs and shady promoters. Producer Ant (Atmosphere) blends soul, blues, and jazz to create sick beats that skillfully complement Ali, ranging from the the perky guitar that enhances the deliberate smarmimess of "Prince Charming" to the ominous trumpets that underpin the drama of "Room With a View"; some songs could have benefited from more changes and catchier hooks, but for the most part the music is compellingly straightforward. Slug (Atmosphere) is guest MC on two tracks, the battle rap "Blah Blah Blah" and the short (under two minutes) "Missing Teeth."
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsBrother Ali Primary Artist
Technical CreditsAdam Ant Composer
Ant Engineer,Executive Producer,beats
Joe Mabbott Engineer
Brent "Abu Siddiq" Sayers Executive Producer
Sean Daley Executive Producer
Brother Ali Composer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Lance Cosgrove Composer
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I was first exposed to Brother Ali when he was on tour with Atmosphere last year. I had never heard of any of his rhymes before and he blew me away. I enjoyed it more that Atmosphere who was actually my favorite group at the time. Shadows of the Sun is the best underground hip hop album of the year, IMO. There is not a single bad track on this album. Some of the beats are an aquired taste, but the lyrics are always top rate. He seems to have a nice balance of emotion and general toughness; I highly recommend this album to anyone that enjoys good hip hop and not the mtv BS.