Brother Ali 

The Truth Is Here

My "greatest rapper" list reads differently from most. Ghostface Killah resides at the zenith, beside Rakim's throne, and Minneapolis truth agent Brother Ali — who recently toured with those two gods, and whose The Truth Is Here is his second perfect disc in as many years — just earned a spot in my Top Five Alive column. Ali's 2007 divine rap masterpiece, The Undisputed Truth, was a theme album of sorts, taking us through the honest but bittersweet tribulations of an adopted albino MC whose positivity and talent carried him from poverty to proud working-class bliss.This nine-track EP picks right up, with the MC who would rather die on his feet than live on his knees, standing tall in the wake of his ascent to the pinnacle of underground hip-hop. Once again, Atmosphere's producer half, Ant, delivers beats that are decisively contemporary but at the same time traditional enough for Ali to knock 'em down wild-style.And why shouldn't he break out his tightest throwback bass jumps ("Talkin' My Shit"), his orchestral gracelands ("Palm the Joker"), and the sweetest piano loop since "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" ("Good Lord")? In rap music right now there's nobody worthier of the opportunity to bless them. (Rhymesayers)


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