Brother Ali – “Secrets & Escapes” review

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This is the surprise 7th full-length album from Minneapolis veteran Brother Ali, the activist/battle emcee that first exploded in the underground with his 2003 sophomore album Shadows in the Sun along with his 2007 follow-up The Undisputed Truth. He just made a fantastic comeback in 2017 with All the Beauty in This Whole Life & with the Halloween season being over, he has teamed up with Evidence for Secrets & Escapes.

The opener “Abu Enzo” talks about where he comes from over a lush instrumental while the next song “Situated” with Pharoahe Monch finds the 2 spitting battle bars over a boom bap beat with a soul sample cutting in & out. The “Greatest That Never Lived” charismatically brags over a spooky instrumental while the song “Father Figures” talks about the people Ali looks up to over a reclining beat. The very short “Apple Tree Me” gets threatening over a ghostly instrumental while the song “Red” finds both Ali & Evidence showing off their own levels of lyricism over a suspenseful beat.

The title track talks about internal conflict over a chilling instrumental while the song “De La Kufi” with Talib Kweli of course sees the 2 kicking knowledge over savory soul sample. The track “Red Light Zone” disses those who be clout chasing on the internet over a funky beat & even though “The Idhin” is brief, Ali comes through with some vivid bars over an almost ambient-like instrumental. Then there’s the closer “They Shot Ricky”, where Ali shows off his storytelling talents over this jazzy instrumental.

Wasn’t expecting this, but it’s one of his best efforts yet. Even though it’s a little over a half hour long, there’s a prominently fantastic chemistry between Evidence’s top notch production & Brother Ali’s intelligent lyricism. If you wanna hear 2 underrated titans from the midwest & the west coast, then PLEASE give this a listen.

Score: 4/5

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