Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crate Digging: The Undisputed Truth

by Brother Ali

Brother Ali has been pretty prolific of late, and has been putting out some high-quality hip-hop. This album was my introduction to Ali. I bought it on the strength of Ant's production and the Rhymesayers label, and it was not a purchase I regretted.

The beginning of the album is a little dull. There are some very nice songs ('Truth Is', 'Daylight'), and some intelligent commentary ('Freedom Ain't Free', 'Letter From the Government'), but it is not until the eleventh track that this album really catches fire.

At that point, Ali becomes a different person, rapping more honestly about his life, history, hopes, and disappointments. The last three tracks serve as a trilogy. 'Walking Away' details the dissolution of his marriage, and portrays a complicated situation with sensitivity, even if the twinges of anger are still clearly felt. 'Faheem' is a love song to his son, heartbreaking in its emotion and its descriptions of the poverty they lived in, but also in its warmth. 'Ear to Ear' has Ali emerging through his trials in a positive place; he's found a new woman, his son is doing well, and his musical career is taking off. This is the confidant, happy Ali of his more recent releases.

Throughout this album, you can see some fine early examples of the guy I think of as the nicest man in hip-hop. Ant kills it throughout this album - I love the beat on 'Uncle Sam Goddamn' the most.

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