Brother Ali: the bite-marked heart

Widely respected MC Brother Ali is set for a busy year. Internationally acclaimed and respected by peers and fans alike, Ali has offered up a seven track EP for free as a prelude to his upcoming full length. Mark Wilson settled into a comfy chair with some enormous headphones to give us his verdict.

Stream/download The Bite Marked Heart for free here.

Lucky me, I was given a gift on Valentines day from a guy that I love. His name is Brother Ali and he is an MC from Minneapolis. The Bite Marked Heart is something of a teaser for his latest full length, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, which drops in March.

Love is on Ali’s mind and his vocal delivery favours smooth lyrical flow over mic-destroying aggression. His previous LP’s have combined these lyrical modes to get a great effect, whereas on The Bite Marked Heart Ali raps only with soul,  fitting the EP’s subject matter.

Sometimes personal, sometimes anecdotal, this a a demonstration of a master storyteller in action. Phonte contributes a chapter to I’ll Be Around and the understated powerful voice of Aby Wolf joins the dots on Haunted Housebroken, complimenting Ali’s narratives and adding to the diverse listening experience of The Bite Marked Heart.

Previous collaborator and fellow Rhymesayers affiliate Ant handles production on I’ll Be Around and Years, while the man behind the decks for Ali’s upcoming full-length, Jake One, produces the majority. Both offer up soaring, impassioned compositions, to which Ali, one of the best in the business, adapts his flow accordingly.

Having already been teased by Writer’s Block, the first insight into Ali and Jake’s upcoming hip-hop union, The Bite Marked Heart suggests another high quality set from Ali is imminent. This is a great package for a freebie, but for those new to Brother Ali, it doesn’t show off his myriad diverse vocal styles, and the subject matter is limited to matters of the heart.

Artwork courtesy of Brother Ali and Rhymesayers entertainment




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