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Brother Ali, The Bite Marked Heart

In a day and age in which rappers deluge the Internet with free projects that often round out at between 15 and 20 tracks, Brother Ali takes a different approach with his latest EP, The Bite Marked Heart. The smooth, soulful EP only has seven tracks—five produced by Jake One, the other two by Ant—with Brother Ali using quality control throughout.

The Minnesota rhymeslinger starts the compilation off strong with “Shine On,” which features singer Nikki Jean. “Run away with me, I swear I’m not a maniac/I give you that pretty diamond ring with last name to match,” Ali offers, spitting his G to that special lady on the cut.

The soothing vibe continues on “Electric Energy,” a cut which has Ali dropping knowledge about self-absorbent dudes like, “He’s talking about all these bitches at the party wanna fuck me/He treats them the way he feels, which is ugly/Misery hates itself, and loves company.” “I’ll Be Around,” possibly the best cut on the EP, has Phonte of Little Brother and Ali complementing each other with verses, while tracks like “I Can’t Wait,” and “Haunted Housebroken” further set the mood.

The channeling of emotions on “Years” is truly poetic, shining a light on Brother Ali’s talents at their finest.

The title track, “The Bite Marked Heart,” finds the MC closing out the show with nimble wordplay: “Love struck like dumb luck, see the bite marked heart come untucked, still scared of the dark, yet I’m not…afraid to fall, scale the wall that you construct,” he dances around rhyming.

While The Bite Marked Heart may leave listeners wanting more, this seven-track project in a music industry of now, now, now does spell less is more. Props to Brother Ali. —Mark Lelinwalla

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