Shadows on the Sun
The albino brother from Minneapolis is back, following up his 2G self-produced debut, Rites of Passage, with the impressive Shadows on the Sun. Ali can definitely flow. A testosterone-driven swagger with pimp-slap precision — swinging heartily between hard-ass battling and alternately poignant and amusing story-telling. A definite Ice Cube acolyte, the Brother sounds like the Compton crony before Cube fell in love with Everlast and House of Pain. An odd southernish twang for a Midwesterner, but Ali’s delivery has Magnum power and force and a manic sense of urgency that is SARS contagious.
Producer Ant (who’s previously worked with Atmosphere) is a true hip-hop pimpster. He and Ali show much love for early ’70s funk and late ’80s hip-hop (when the latter first discovered the former). Serious breaks tinged with Isaac Hayes/Willie Hutch soul — reminiscent of early Premier, pre-pop Dre and Black Moon — with splashes of Rza.
The end result is damned impressive. Ali’s a powerhouse ready to blow. His potential realized, his sophomore effort should (with songs like “Blah Blah Blah” “Room with a View,” and “Bitchslap!”) place him nicely in one of the decked-out catacombs of hip-hop’s underground.