What do I say here that the average hip-hop fan does not yet know? I'm not going to touch on Brother Ali's skin tone, lack of vision or faith, but rather the impact he has had on independent hip-hop. I'm from Minnesota, (in case this is your first time reading or if you didn't catch that earlier) so you can already know what's coming without scrolling at all, I am a very staunch supporter or B Ali (a nickname penned by your very own Guy Fawkes). Truth be told, I doubt you can find one person on this universe that actually hates on Brother Ali. I'm not denying the fact that some people may dislike him, but nobody hates on Brother Ali. And lately the big Brother has been getting some serious hype. November 4th lots of my favorite blogs were adorned by Ali's track Mr. President (You're The Man). And before then Ali shared a track with Freeway on the Jake One album, and kinda shitted on the bearded man. What does that have to do with the Champion EP? Presumably very little, so let's get the show on the road..
1. Champion (Remix)-
For those that have heard the original, you have to agree when I say this version is terrible. Not terrible as in it's a bad song, but terrible as in you need to track down the original version. That's all I can really say, I can't applaud this song knowing there is a much better alternative to it right underneath my fingertips.
2. Bad Ma Fucka-
For those who have heard Dorian, you know that Ali really is a bad ma fucka. Although that has nothing to do with the concept of this song. For most other artists this would be treated as your average disgruntled head talking to the talentless MC's of tomorrow. But this song is so much more. Ant's amazing production here really had my head spun. Aside from adding guitar and harmonica yet still creating a pure hip-hop instrumental, Ant throws in a few obscure samples to be safe. Add Ali's lyricism to the mix and you have a standout track on a standout album.
This beat has always stuck a cord somewhere deep inside my heart with it's eery and dark-natured drums and sampling, but Ali's flow does not work here. It ruins an instrumental with lots of potential. For those who can appreciate a decent song with an awkward flow, it's a different story...
4. Love On Display
Possibly my favorite thing about Ant (Ali's producer if you can't tell yet) is the extremely wide range of emotions he can convey in an simple beat. From dark and gloomy to optimistic and cheerful, he can do it all. This is more or less a tale of how Ali has been impacted about hip-hop, and it is introspective and genuine as can be. This is the type of song that can humble the most narcisstic human being, definitely something you should check out.
5. Self Taught
This was the song that first made me fall in love with Ali. Two years later I still enjoy the song, but I find myself spacing out at times. It's not so much the song as a whole but the hook is very generic in a Brother Ali sense. Still a knocker though.
6. Heads Down
The first time during this whole EP that I can whole-heartedly say SKIP!
7. Chain Link
The whole vibe of this song is mid 90's heart of the city, NYC, little kids playing basketball during recess. I don't have much to say here, just sit back and admire good music people. Not G.O.O.D. Music but good music (had to get that subliminal diss in).
8. Waheedah's Hands
Ehh, it wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't good.
9. Rain Water
What a send-off, wow! This is probably the premier track off this stellar EP. If that's not saying something, I don't know what is.
So now that we're done, you can guess what happens. I'm going to throw in a comment about how this EP shits on mainstream hip-hop in general, and that you should definitely cop it (even if it requires going out of your way to do so). But truth be told, I'm going to keep it 100% real right now. This EP is good, and with the exception of a few songs, it's much better than any major release coming out in the next month. So do yourself a favor, and cop this EP as a fan of hip-hop in general, fuck the labels attached to artists, support good music. I'm going to get off my pulpit now. *P Valley, I'm going to get to that Ghostface I promise homie*
I give this EP a 88.
You can find a link here