Ali the Son of Abdul Year of the Satellite

Having had some practice with a collaboration EP, alongside rapper JM and producer Frost T (Believe 2008), followed by his solo mixtape, This Is All Imaginary in 2009, Ali the Son of Abdul gets it right with his new nine-song album, available from his site as a free digital download. Ali has improved upon the overall sound quality and mix of his previous output while maintaining the gritty, lo-fi basement vibe necessary to pull off the dark, slightly experimental production. Ali's muddy drums take second stage to his unique selection of smooth, spiritual samples that stand front and centre. The production follows a simple formula, and is very effective as a backdrop for Ali's righteous raps and conspiracy theories. However, the minimalism of "Money," a spoken word piece accompanied by a bass note and three keyboard notes, and "Cell," a pleading rap with plodding drums and buzzing horns, are a little repetitive. It's a mid-album lull that's solved by "Go Numb," an upbeat production that continues the buzzing, but allows Ali the opportunity to kick some braggadocio battle raps, while "Blood Journal" and "Magic Man" prove that a few component parts can remain interesting if the beat changes often, even if the songs are slower, like much of the rest of Year of the Satellite. Finally, Ali the Son of Abdul has come with something worthy of his talent, and it's also worthy of your time. (Bollywood Depiction)