In honor of Brother Ali's upcoming performance at Pizza Luce (click here for details), I've put together a mix tape of his best performances -- in my humble opinion, that is.
Note: "Artwork" by me, Matthew R. Perrine, utilizing Dan Monick's original photograph.
1. Brother Ali - "Champion (Remix)"
Found on: the "Champion" EP. Believe it or not, but an improvement on the original (which appears on "Shadows on the Sun").
2. Brother Ali - "Bitchslap!"
Found on: "Shadows on the Sun." As Ant revealed in his appearance at the University of Minnesota's "Making Music" Q-and-A session (listen here), this was originally written for Slug/Atmosphere but felt more like a Brother Ali track.
3. Brother Ali - "5 Line King"
Found on: P.O.S. & Turbo Nemesis' "Meat Tape." Outside of "Walking Away," this rare track is Ali's best showcase of his storytelling ability.
4. Brother Ali - Phone Message for Matthew R. Perrine
Exactly what it sounds like. (I'm a hopeless music geek, I know!)
5. Atmosphere feat. Brother Ali - "Cats Van Bags"
Found on: Atmosphere's "Seven's Travels." One of the most explosive tracks ever ... is it reckoning day yet?
6. Brother Ali - "Love on Display"
Found on: the "Champion" EP. One of Ant's best bass lines to date.
7. Brother Ali - "Truth Is (Remix)" (download original here)
Found on: Brother Ali & BK-One's "Off the Record." Remix by Brother Ali and BK-One -- the lengthy intro includes hilarious caller comments from Ali's successful run on Twin Cities hip-hop station B96. Choice lines: "You need to keep Brother Ali off the radio ... you guys are like a pop station and he's way too good for B96, dude. This station officially sucks."
8. Sage Francis feat. Brother Ali, Slug and Joe Beats - "Doomage"
Found on: "Still Sickly Business." Production by: MF Doom. It's tough and gritty -- but what else would you expect from an MF Doom/Sage Francis collab?
9. Brother Ali - "Heads Down (You Haven't Done That Yet)"
Found on: the "Champion" EP. A nice bridge between albums one and two.
10. Brother Ali - "Forest Whitiker"
Found on: "Shadows on the Sun." Sunday drive hip-hop? There's some seriously sunny production going on here.
11. DJ Abilities feat. Brother Ali - "Brother Ali Exclusive"
Found on: DJ Abilities' "... For Persons with DJ Abilities." Production by: DJ Abilities. Abilities takes a backseat to Ali, with minimal production allowing the MC to shine through.
12. Brother Ali - "Fire in the Eye"
Found on: the "A League of Our Own, Vol. 2" compilation. Production by: Mr. Dibbs (?). I don't know much about this track, but it's well worth seeking out (hint: it was collected for the "Off the Record" mix tape).
13. Brother Ali - "Take Me Home"
Found on: "The Undisputed Truth." Another sunny jam. People say Ali's always pissed off, but apparently Ant's out to change that perception.
14. Brother Ali feat. Slug - "Blah Blah Blah"
Found on: "Shadows on the Sun." The first Ali track I ever heard -- and one of the catchiest.
15. Brother Ali - "Whatcha Got"
Found on: "The Undisputed Truth." Really has a way of introducing itself, like some of the tougher cuts on "You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having."
16. Brother Ali - "The Trap"
Found on: Brother Ali & BK-One's "Off the Record." Production by: BK-One (?). Ali rapping over the Roots' apocalyptic "In the Music" (sans Black Thought's vocals, of course). Works surprisingly well.
17. Brother Ali feat. Slug - "Missing Teeth"
Found on: "Shadows on the Sun." For whatever reason, reminds me of the "Headshots: SE7EN" sessions.
18. Mr. Dibbs feat. Brother Ali - "Live from the Chippie-Bun Club"
From "Thirty-Seven." Production by: Mr. Dibbs. Ali goes rock 'n' roll!
19. Brother Ali - "Truth Is (Robotobots Remix)"
Found on: Robotobots' Web site. Sounds like something DJ Abilities would cook up -- very cool.
20. Brother Ali - "Original King"
Found on: the "Scribble Jam 06" compilation. One of the funkiest intros in the history of Ant.
21. Brother Ali - "Operation Push"
Found on: Brother Ali & BK-One's "Off the Record." Production by: BK-One (?). Gotta love the shout-outs!
22. Brother Ali - "Walking Away"
Found on: "The Undisputed Truth." I never considered myself a huge Ali fan until I "stumbled upon" this track. It will make a believer out of anybody. Its gorgeous backing track and bittersweet lyrics about a failed marriage are simply irresistible. "I don't love you / I don't think I ever did / And if you hadn't tried to kill / I would've stayed for the kid."
All tracks produced by Ant except where noted.
"Brother Ali Has Left the Building" -- That's right; I finally scored an interview with the legend-in-the-making Rhymesayers MC! (If you like what you read, make sure to check out my Q-and-A with Eyedea as well.)
"CD Review: Brother Ali's 'The Undisputed Truth'" -- The headline says it all, no?