Ali - Shadows On the Sun
albums should be timeless," Brother Ali said in an interview with
hiphopinfinity.com, and that's just what "Shadows on the Sun"
is, timeless. My man DJ A-Beats saw Ali when he came through VA with
Murs recently, and he said the live show was real tight. If he's as
good as his album is, then that would be a show that any true Hip Hop
Head couldn't miss out on.
MC straight brings it, there's no other way to say it. The album starts
off with the lead single, "Room With A View," where he goes
through the various situations and scenes he sees when he looks out
the window, as he hits on the ills of city life from a non-judgemental
perspective, with lines like "Sister Regina from across the streets
beautiful, but for fifty bucks ain't nothing she won't do to you."
This is the song that got me checking the album, because I heard this
and the high-energy Ant (of Atmosphere fame) is ridiculous and the flow
and lyrics are absolutely crazy. Why this song isn't on Hot 97, MTV,
BET, and everyone's radio is beyond me. "Champion" is one
of the cocky tracks Ali did, but he can do that because he uses ill
lines and he's not on some "I'm the best and I'll kill everyone"
type shit that is bringing down the music.
is one of the best tracks, if not the best, on the album. His humbleness
and straight-living comes through loud and clear with lines like "There's
only three reasons Ali would need a Ramada. One to move the bowels,
two to steal the towels, and three to shave, shower and pray for my
Instead of reading
a book or watching a movie, just check the track "Prince Charming."
Ali constructs an ill story that is really funny, and he is a master
of writing the way he built this song and had it flow from verse to
verse. The last thing I am gonna do is give this song away, just know
that you need to hear it for a good laugh. "Dorian" is another
tight story, where Ali confronts a man who he knows is beating his wife
and kids at night because he can hear him through his apartment walls.
This is another one that I do not want to give away, just know that
its dope and you'll be better off hearing it for yourself instead of
me giving it away.
"Win Some Lose
Some" is a track which shows Ali's courage and maturity as he recounts
the story of when he got jumped in high school.
"When the Beat
Comes In" is one of the best lyrical tracks I have heard in awhile.
He drops the illest rhymes and one-liners here, as he rhymes about his
Albino features with "I'm the Albino but y'all pale in comparison,"
and "If I had any more potential I'd have to be twins." There's
also the dope Run-D.M.C. sample where they're saying "When the
music comes in."
Slug comes through
for a couple of appearances on "Blah Blah Blah" and "Missing
Teeth." He's the only guest MC, and he comes through all right,
but Brother Ali overshadows him. Brother Ali is not afraid to bare his
soul, as he does on tracks like "Forest Whitiker" and "Picket
Fence," and that's what separates Ali from other MC's. His maturity
and lyrical ability have made this album one of my newest favorites.
This stays in rotation and it gets better every time I hear it. The
production and rhymes will still be relevant 25 years from now, and
that's why this album is timeless.