All the Beauty in This Whole Life, the Minneapolis rapper’s first album in five years. Difficult times require insight and wisdom and, like many of the prophets of the past, Ali is both cursed and blessed with the gift of articulation. The Muslim rapper reflects on the suicides of his father and grandfather on the bittersweet ode “Out of Here” and describes the alienation he felt growing up as an albino on “Pray for Me.” Ali turns his laser-sharp focus outward on “Dear Black Son,” a piano-backed interlude where he decries the absurdity of racism. Also at the Observatory, Wed., May 17.
“The entire landscape of that blank page was mine, created space to climb inside, escape the crazy times,” Brother Ali declares on “Pen to Paper,” the opening track on