Music » Record Reviews

The Undisputed Truth–Brother Ali

(Rhymesayers)

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Albino, Muslim, indie rapper Brother Ali might have the best voice in contemporary hip-hop -- a warm, burnished baritone with which he delivers the most church-y flow heard since before Cee-Lo (Goodie Mob, Gnarls Barkley) decided to become a singer. This soulful vocal quality turns potential lectures into sermons and -- together with his plainspoken approach -- helps political missives such as "Letter From the Government" and "Uncle Sam Goddamn" connect emotionally. As befits a man whose greatest achievement -- the 2004 insta-classic single "Forest Whitaker" -- details his own physical flaws, The Undisputed Truth is at its best when it gets really personal, as on an inspirational closing triptych that addresses his ex-wife, young son, and newfound happiness in vibrant succession. ("Walking Away," "Faheem," "Ear to Ear") -- CH

Grade: A-

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