I pulled out Brother Ali’s debut Shadows on the Sun for this weeks edition of tunes from the whip. Bringing all my CDs up from my moms house has me tripping at what I could listen to. I could proly do one of these every other day and still find something new or that I forgot about. But this is about Brother Ali. The man who spits hot fire all over brilliant Ant tracks.
After Jet Set last week, the day I’d thrown this into the deck, I ended up giving Vitamin D a ride to the studio. On the drive he heard “Star Quality,” asked what it was and smiled. He then revealed to me that he had worked on the project for them out in the Mini Apple. I love the learning the back stories.
Listening to the album the rest of the week was great. It constantly brought smiles to my face and got me ready to go into work feeling good, feeling great. Ali is an amazing emcee. When all is said and done he pretty much has to be in the top 10 greatest list. As he says he “weaves a web of words so intricate the English dictionary lacks an adjective to fit” him.
But beyond just being clever with the writes he can actually convey a message and speak on topics that are so often exploited. From the first track he is preaching to the people. “From a location where slanging crack rock is not seen as recreation but a fucking vocation.” There is an anger in his voice that can only be explained as pure raw hunger. Think Mobb Deep on The Infamous, Snoop on Doggystyle, etc etc.
The beats are awesome. I’ve long wanted Ant to break away from the RSE camp and work with national acts. We’ve yet to see it and I’m gathering that it is probably a pipe dream. Oh well, when he and Ali link it’s beautiful. He makes BANGERS! Heavy, dusty drums, awesome samples that can only come from years of listening through stacks of vinyl and chops that make you turn up your face and bang your head to it.
The only guest is Slug, who appears twice. Together these two bring it out in eachother. Slug was still in his prime at this time and the hunger and unfuxwitable attitude Ali posses just brings out the asshole in Slug and they go at it. I feel like this type of raw, unbridled emotion in verses is rare today. Perhaps it is the reason I’m fucking with the kid Kendrick Lamar, I hear that passion in his “Monster Freestyle.”
If you have never listened to Shadows on the Sun by all means get it. I can’t reccomend it with more support. It’s stellar, fantastic, and great music with an equally important message. A rare feat. It’s one of only three hip hop records I bought in high school I still think about and want to hear on a regular basis. I can’t say enough good things, my feelings have to be clear. Thanks for reading, now go listen!
Next week’s feature will be Bob James One.