Brother Ali is a Muslim rapper, with albinism, from Minneapolis, which makes him an anomaly among anomalies. But he’s been rapping so well, for so long, that it’s better to just think of him as a great underground rapper. He’s a vocal powerhouse with an impassioned preachers’ voice and an intense live show, and he’s been a crucial part of Atmosphere’s Rhymesayers crew ever since he released his 2000 debut. Ali hasn’t dropped a new album since 2012’s Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color, but on his new single “Pen To Paper,” he sounds reinvigorated, rapping hard about his own origin story over regal old-school horns. In director Maria Juranic’s video, the camera slowly zooms down a hallway and into Ali’s face. Check it out below.
Ali’s been around for so long that it’s possible to take him for granted, but jesus, that is a commanding voice.