Brother Ali: Goin’ Through It b/w More Than This

4 out of 5

Label: Travelers Media

Produced by: Various

3 new excellent singles from Brother Ali, each capturing a slightly different side of his persona, at the cutting edge of his abilities and style.

Goin’ Through It is part day-in-the-life, part marveling at the wonders of the world: Ali looking around at talking about the struggles all around us, while also the miracle of how those struggles are overcome daily, without us noticing. This is mapped to an incredibly fun and funky Ant beat, the producer sticking to his classic soul sound but modernized with the playfulness of his work across the last few Atmosphere releases. The instrumental of this track is the only thing that gets a bit tiresome – Ant has a tendency to find his groove and leave it locked, and that’s what this track is: once its given up its main melody, that’s about it, so without Ali’s smooth lyricism atop, it’s a little boring.

Over on the B-side, Evidence accompanies More Than This – a sobering track that asks a typical Is This All There Is? question, but it’s through Ali’s eye, which casts such queries both internally and externally, making it a very worthwhile retread of this concept. And with Evey on beats, we don’t have the repetition found on the A-side: it’s a snakey, windy beat that mixes in a lot of little touches along the way that keep us on edge.

Finally, The Old Way is sort of a mature boast track – it’s about how Ali keeps it real, but not by talking up his game directly, moreso just that he’s always been the way he is… he keeps it real by staying himself. Self-produced, the beat is limited, but it has a lo-fi, old school vibe that totally matches the mood.

Generally I’m not in favor of this limited types of singles, but every vocal track on here is worth highlighting, making the purchase absolutely of value.