Brother Ali – Shadows on the Sun: #615 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Brother Ali - Shadows on the Sun

So why is Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Brother Ali is an unusual rapper and hip hop artist in all kinds of ways that make him special. While he always leverages a striking yet pleasing flow that makes me perk up, on Shadows on the Sun it’s the use of a variety of genres that back up his rap game – that stretch from jazz to blues to funk to soul – that make it a standout.

A great example is “Forest Whitaker,” which has a joyful, soulful feel to it. Brother Ali is one of the sharpest lyricists in the biz, and he’s particularly on point here delving into his own flaws and determining, “I’m a be all right.”

I’m albino, man, I know I’m pink and pale
And I’m hairy as hell, everywhere but fingernails
I shave a cranium that ain’t quite shaped right
Face type, shiny, I stay up and write late nights

The swinging jazz backing “Blah Blah Blah” is always something that I want to see more of in hip hop, and Brother Ali’s rap skills match the vibe perfectly.

The horn-driven, aggressive “Room With A View” sounds very Inspecktah Deck circa The Movement, which was released in the same year (2003) as Shadows on the Sun as it turns out.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun

Brother Ali’s Wikipedia page contains a bunch of fascinating information, some of which I was familiar with – such as that Ali, the stage name for Jason Douglas Newman, has albinism – but much of which I was not. For example, Brother Ali’s lyrics are often political, with themes of racial inequality, poverty, and social justice. But check this:

Much attention was garnered through Ali’s album The Undisputed Truth, as it heavily criticized much about the United States’ political system. After the music video for “Uncle Sam Goddamn” was released in 2007, it quickly gained much attention, and shortly after, the United States Department of Homeland Security froze a money transfer to his record label.[10]

Some stats & info about Brother Ali – Shadows on the Sun

Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

To everyone out there, who’s a little different, I say damn a magazine, these is God’s fingerprints.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.