Wildstyle Wednesday Review: Brother Ali, Shadows On The Sun

Shadows_on_the_SunRhymesayers has been a stamp in Midwest Hip-Hop for as long as I remember. They also have their fair share of classics, but I’m almost positive that Brother Ali’s Shadows On The Sun is still the best album from their catalog to date. Brother Ali leaves the microphone murderously massacred on every single track on this album, and Ant’s production is nothing short of superbly stellar. I am a fan of everything that Ali has put out, but I really don’t think that any other album stands up to this one. There are so many different feels on this album, one track Ali will be spitting furiously, and the next track he’ll be having fun. If this album makes one thing clear, it’s that Brother Ali loves Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop loves Brother Ali.

From the opening track, “Room With A View“, you immediately feel moved by the beat and the rhymes. Ant’s triumphant, ear-drum demolishing horns combine with a nice kick snare combo to leave your head nodding in approval. Ali spits with much angst about where he grew up, “Try very hard to picture this shit, walk through where I live at/where parents are embarrassed to tell ya they raised they kids at”, and “… shit we don’t have bahmitzfas we be commend the first time our father hits us/and we don’t open gifts up”. Ali also breaks down how damn good he is, “You can call me the modern Norman Rockwell/I paint a picture of the spot well”. The cut “Champion” has always been one of my favorite Ali tracks because Ali speeds up the rhyme a little bit and puts on an utterly astonishing display. He flows, ” I’m chokin’ playas like I’m Bob Knight/choke the coaches like I’m Sprewell/they bowin’ to the Sayers til’ they knees swell/I shake the game up worse than single white females…”, and “…For real I be diligently killin’ these soliloquies of these millipedes that try to pass themselves off as ill emcees”. In “Star Quality“, Ant combines a nice guitar chord, some nice horns and a smooth rolling beat that is sure to please all, and Ali tells you what it’s like to step, “Hold your sorry little life in my hand/battlin’ me is like tryin’ to your bike in the sand”. Rhymesayers veteran Slug collabs (in the best way possible) with Ali on the tracks “Blah Blah Blah” and “Missing Teeth“. Ali sends a funny yet funky message to the ladies with a little help from Ant in “Prince Charming“.

Many would say that the best track on this album is “Forest Whitiker” which has Ali embracing the body and way of life that God gave him, “Hey yo, dependin’ on the day, and dependin on what I ate/I’m anywhere from 20 to 35 pounds over weight/I got red eyes, and one of em’s lazy/and they both squint when the sun shine so I be crazy/I’m albino man, I know I’m pink and pale/and I’m hairy as hell everywhere but finger nails”. It’s a toss up, but I think the best song on the album is “Shadows On The Sun“. Ant’s beat accent’s Ali perfectly and Ali delivers the rhymes definitively, “I like the snares loud enough to make your eyes blink from it/only male with the Holy Grail, drink from it/I keep an eye on heaven and an ear to the street/and spread a thick layer of blood, sweat and tears on the beat”. He re-iterates, “…We’re like a rock band that pack contraband/and won’t hesitate to stomp a man into the rocks and sand/Brother Ali, and if you haven’t heard about me/I’m flying just beneath your radar so you can doubt me/stay on the sonar with crow bars to open minds/there’s a latter you’re supposed to climb”.

This album is so fucking good that I had to cut off my review because I literally could have talked about all of the tracks. Shadows On The Sun is Brother Ali’s defining opus with passion pouring all over it. If you have never heard this album I truly feel sadly sorry for you, because this album is a classic. Ali had a rhyme on Jake One’s album, “…Big music industry I seldom get a mention/but the few that do zoom in, respect me as a legend”, and the reason they do respect him as a legend is because of albums like this.

10 Shadows out of 10


One Response to “Wildstyle Wednesday Review: Brother Ali, Shadows On The Sun

  1. […] Wildstyle Wednesday Review: Brother Ali, Shadows On The Sun « MIND … […]

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