For this very special entry, please welcome my man, the lub of my life, DJ Godbot! (I'll be back in a sec...)
Uh, well, I'm not the "Underground Albino" that the title of this post might imply (I'm just the one who is writing about another Underground Albino>>). Brother Ali has been around for a while now; to the tune of a couple of full lengths on top of his breakout EP entitled Champion released in 2004. Indeed, Brother Ali is an Albino, and yes, he is Muslim, but to some of us who miss the heyday of Independent hip-hop (when tons of non-commercial and genuinely innovative beatmakers and lyricists were dropping dope jams in the 1990s) he is a glimmer of hope that underground hip-hop is not going down the tubes.
I got turned on to this dude by my homie Frank (who is now in Iraq, serving as a Captain and still trying to be up on as much music as possible) a while back. Frank's a couple of years younger than me, so I often pick his brain on what he thinks is dope because he truly has made an effort to keep up on Underground hip hop (Especially stuff from Oaktown and the Bay) even though distance makes it a bit more challenging for him.
When he first played me some Brother Ali, I was struck by the overall feel of the music. The vibe definitely sent me back. The production and lyrics put me in a cool, mid-nineties underground hip hop mood, complete with sampled breaks from the butter years of early seventies funk and soul along with lyrics that were honest, deep and from the heart. I believe this dude is from Minnesota, not far from Detroit, and the closest rapper that his style reminds me of is an early Eminem (back when he was young, hungry and dope). Peep, if you will, a track from his new album The Undisputed Truth called "Take Me Home." Its got a nice upbeat groove with some clever banter, speaking to the fact that having skills is not a prerequisite to being successful in hip-hop today.
If you like this track, also peep "Freedom Ain't Free" from The Undisputed Truth and "Forrest Whitaker" from Shadows on the Sun
. . . Okay, I'm back and in full agreement with my man. Brother Ali is worth checking out. Even though I haven't loved every track I've heard from him, his good ones are great. And while I understand the comparison with Eminem, one can also pick up on his KRS-1 (and other classic hip-hop emcees) influences. But this man is a legend-in-the-making in his own right, too. You can learn more about this underground albino and peep his tracks here and here. Let's support quality hip-hop because it's hard to come by nowadays.