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Ali attempts and manages to tie stories and people together, speaking volumes about his home country
Rhymesayers Etnertainment have since 1996 been vitalizing the US independent hiphop scene, and their golden childBrother Ali’s fourth album Us is one of the most solid hip-hop releases of 2009. A white albino muslim born and bread in the United States, Ali narrates from an outsider’s perspective, and the album has him close to the listener throughout.
It’s not surprising that his fans are quick to label Ali a preacher, but I wouldn’t tag him as one just yet. The MC does not speak from a moral pedestal, he just powerfully conveys the predicament of his characters. Whether it be a husband and father leaving his home to save money (’House Keys’), a woman abused by her husband (’Babygirl’) or a man with a broken heart (’You Say (Puppy Love)’), it’s impossible not to be moved by Ali’s powerful performances. The production, holding a high standard throughout, do not steal the spotlight from Ali, that would be impossible to do, but support his stories, using anything from harmonious strings to a funky country guitar.
As the cover art of the album reveals, Ali attempts and manages to tie stories and people together, speaking volumes about his home country as a collective, despite the fact that its people are bread to place the individual first. It’s the same tactic used by a lot of politicians—except Ali’s tone is more earnest, and his experiences more tangible.
words Sven Carlsson