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Rapper Brother Ali spent much of his life living in various cities in the Upper Midwest, starting in Madison, Wisconsin, then moving to Michigan as a young child -- where he was first introduced to breakdancing and graffiti and rapping -- and finally settling in northern Minneapolis with his family when he was 15. Eventually, his demo tape Rites of Passage made it into the hands of the still young Rhymesayers crew, who signed the MC and brought him along with them to the 2000 Scribble Jam, at which Ali was a finalist. In 2003 his debut, Shadows on the Sun, produced by Atmosphere's Ant and including a song ("Forest Whitiker") that spoke of his albinoism, came out, followed by the Champion EP in 2004. The next few years were tough for Ali, a devout Muslim, as he was dealing with a divorce and struggling for custody of his son. However, all of this just provided fodder for his music, and in the spring of 2007, after a few months of delays, Brother Ali's sophomore record, The Undisputed Truth, hit shelves. His 2009 effort Us advocated a return to true hip-hop, and was followed in 2012 by the more political minded Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. ~ Marisa Brown