Brother Ali

Shadows on the Sun

Boasting backpacker cover boy Slug and the legendary Mr. Dibbs, the Rhymesayers collective put Minneapolis on the hip-hop map. Brother Ali takes the crew to the next level with Shadows on the Sun, a shimmering blend of propulsive pop and hard-edged lyricism. Ali christens himself an “urban Norman Rockwell” and reveals an impressive eye for detail along with a predilection for nostalgia here, wedding his sobering street visions to an impressive assemblage of down-home jazz, blues and soul riffs. The dreamy beats come courtesy of Atmosphere’s Ant, but the engaging, articulate flows are all Ali’s. He shifts easily between styles and subjects, finding a rare balance between challenging and entertaining his listeners. In an industry overrun with halfhearted, sound-alike MCs, Ali’s voice is a much-needed breath of fresh air.