Local Wire

Brother Ali

"Don't you know you're in the presence of greatness, bwoi?" Brother Ali snarls from the pulpit on "Original King," shortly before launching into a brief refresher course/sermon for the uninitiated over a beat that sounds like Earth Wind and Fire on crack: "I bring it like it never been brung/Swing it like it never been swung/I'm second to none." And he really is. If Rhymesayers is a family, Ali is its preacher, a fire-and-brimstone man of the word from the old school who over the course of a pawful of albums has proven himself to be one of the fiercest unsung MCs in the game. He's got a powerful delivery that rattles the stained glass and drops worshippers to their knees. To his credit, Ali always asks them to stand back up.

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Kevin Capp