16 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Where Brother Ali’s previous albums delved deep into his life story, Us describes life through the experiences of surrounding characters. To do that right, the songwriter needs a limitless well of empathy and generosity, which Brother Ali possesses. “Babygirl” looks at a girlfriend who is still struggling against the aftershocks of childhood abuse. Not only does Ali describe her pain, but also the effect it has on him: “How can she find peace in her mind when / Love means returning to the scene of a crime? / I can feel it inside we've reopened wounds every time we intertwine.” The album’s boldest work is “The Travelers,” which envisions the horror of the Middle Passage. At first the songs seems overly ambitious, but by the end the listener realizes that Ali is pushing the envelope in an attempt to push the listener towards a place of compassion. Bolstered by a series of organic, funk-infused beats (courtesy of Atmosphere producer Ant), Us proves that when it comes to sharpening and articulating messages of love and empathy, Brother Ali is the hardest working artist in rap music.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Where Brother Ali’s previous albums delved deep into his life story, Us describes life through the experiences of surrounding characters. To do that right, the songwriter needs a limitless well of empathy and generosity, which Brother Ali possesses. “Babygirl” looks at a girlfriend who is still struggling against the aftershocks of childhood abuse. Not only does Ali describe her pain, but also the effect it has on him: “How can she find peace in her mind when / Love means returning to the scene of a crime? / I can feel it inside we've reopened wounds every time we intertwine.” The album’s boldest work is “The Travelers,” which envisions the horror of the Middle Passage. At first the songs seems overly ambitious, but by the end the listener realizes that Ali is pushing the envelope in an attempt to push the listener towards a place of compassion. Bolstered by a series of organic, funk-infused beats (courtesy of Atmosphere producer Ant), Us proves that when it comes to sharpening and articulating messages of love and empathy, Brother Ali is the hardest working artist in rap music.

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