Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Brother Ali

  • Shadows on the Sun [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2003] A-
  • The Undisputed Truth [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2007] ***
  • The Truth Is Here [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2009] **
  • Us [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2009] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Shadows on the Sun [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2003]
The voice is anxious--sometimes shrill, sometimes defiant, strong and articulate either way. The beats are soul-simple, not hooky enough for radio or dull enough for old-school. The rhymes are proud, thoughtful, searching, candid, angry, observed. Because Ali is married, he avoids nerd-rap's itchy dick syndrome. Because he's an albino, he knows extra about difference. Because he's a serious Muslim, he's a serious moralist. Because he's a good guy, he's not self-righteous or judgmental. Two of his best songs are about fights. In the funny one he ends up with a bloody eye and a split bicuspid. In the indignant one he clocks a woman-beater and gets arrested. A-

The Undisputed Truth [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2007]
Rocking the self-conscious party ("Lookin' at Me Sideways," "Uncle Sam Goddamn"). ***

The Truth Is Here [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2009]
Professional's disease--after eight months on the road, he raps best about himself ("Real as Can Be," "Baby Don't Go"). **

Us [Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2009]
No longer poor but still righteous "preacher" and "luckiest son of a bitch that ever lived" asks band for soul and takes the corn he's a sucker for ("House Keys," "Slippin' Away"). *