I had the good fortune of picking up Brother Ali's previous release, Shadows on the Sun, during a trip to Minnesota last year and that thing stayed in my discman for months. This summer, I went back to Minnesota and found the Champion EP waiting for me at the Fifth Element. Bought it...and here it will stay in my CD player for many more months. 9 new tracks all worth hearing again and again....well worth the price.
Clever lyrics, catchy hooks, and great stories....but perhaps the single most compelling feature is the sincerity which Ali treats his audience to. After having listened to his albums so many times, I feel a little bit different about the world...outraged by the world's injustices, but encouraged by the power of ordinary people. Music for the mind and the soul.
Often underground/alternative hip hop that comes out seems a bit too fascinated by being smart and unconventional. Mainstream stuff seems totally devoid of originality and all too often unconcerned with the world. Ali seems to bridge both worlds....being smart, but doesn't let this get in the way of making music that makes you move. In fact, lots of the stuff that Rhymesayers Entertainment is putting out is great....but Ali is the King.
If any artist deserves your money, Brother Ali does. Raw talent and wit, made sharp by a life well lived. Buy the album, listen to it, tell your friends.