Brother Ali – Truth is Here

Brother Ali - Truth is Here I have not written a music-related post since December and my last album review posted in April 2008. While it may seem I was once again musicless in Seattle, the truth is I have been so busy enjoying so many recent additions to my music collection I have not made time to write about it.

Truth is Here is Brother Ali’s first release to have a legitimate shot at gaining him mainstream recognition. While his previous four releases are underground par excellence, only “Truth Is” from The Undisputed Truth received any significant coverage by mainstream radio. The Undisputed Truth peaked at 69 on the Billboard 200.

Ali’s newest release is well produced, lyrically rich and refreshingly relevant in this age of disposable hip-hop. I believe he will finally break through. The only real criticism I have is the release is too short. It is officially an extended play (EP) which means it is longer than a single but shorter than a full, long-playing (LP) album. Truth is Here consists of nine tracks composed of three sought-after B-sides and six previously unreleased songs, totaling roughly 34 minutes in length.

As for the production, Ali reunites with Rhymesayers Entertainment cohort, Ant, who weaves intricate tapestries of lush soundscapes that mesh perfectly with Ali’s burgeoning content. The two fit together as emcee and producer like hip-hop Velcro®. Ali’s lyrics are the hook and Ant’s production the loop.

Truth is Here gets 4 out of 5 on the “Tyrone Biggums” scale. (reference)

Full Tyrone Biggums Full Tyrone Biggums Full Tyrone Biggums Full Tyrone Biggums

When a release is this good, you add a few tracks and make it an LP. This EP created a lot of buzz and raises expectations for his forthcoming fourth LP, Us, due to hit the street September 22.

Training for my fourth half-marathon

Skagit Flats Half-Marathon 2009 I am scheduled to run the Skagit Flats Half-Marathon in just over two weeks—8 AM, Sunday, September 13, to be exact. The course is about an hour north of our home and will be the smallest of the races I have registered, judging by the total number of finishers in 2008—333 half, 189 full—and minimalist Web site.

My goal is to finish in under 2 hours since I fell just short in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle half back in June.

Of course, I would not be mad if I finished in 1:56 or faster to commemorate my first half-marathon time a year ago. With TB and Owen there cheering me on, why not?

New Parent Tip: Travel light with a netbook

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Netbook If you are a gadget geek and Internet fiend like me, you never leave home without some type of Web device. While my iPhone is an excellent, on-the-go device that meets most of my communication, entertainment and surfing needs, it is still a challenge, and sometimes impossible,  to complete certain tasks that require heavy computation, keyboarding or editing. For example, processing loads of work e-mail; authoring documents; downloading, editing and sharing content from still and video cameras; and, lastly, writing to my blog are all tasks I find unsuitable on any Smartphone.

Whereas the iPhone is underpowered for such activities, my work laptop—a Lenovo ThinkPad T500—is absolutely overkill for personal travel. Why? It weighs over 10 pounds fully-loaded with extended batteries and power adapter. Ten pounds weighing me down while whisking through airports and Jetways with Owen in tow is not a good look.

That’s why a few weeks before Owen was born, I purchased a used Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook off eBay. The image below shows how the 3 devices compare in overall size and display real estate.

iPhone 3GS vs. Dell Inspiron Mini 9 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad T500

Once the Mini 9 arrived, I upgraded it to 2GB of memory and replaced the Windows XP Home Premium installation with Windows 7 Ultimate. It runs great and while the 8.9”, 1024×600 display and Lilliputian keyboard both take some adjustment, it is a much sleeker travel companion than the 15.4”, 1680×1050 display and full keyboard on the ThinkPad.

The Mini’s major advantages are its svelte dimensions, back saving 2.28 pounds, and zero moving parts. The absence of fans and spinning drives allows it to run completely silently. The iPhone display is 3.5”, 480×320, and its main advantage over the other two—besides being a phone—are it fits in my pocket, has a longer battery life, turns on immediately and puts my information and media at my fingertips in seconds.

While the Mini 9 has been discontinued, I find the MyDellMini fan site to be the most informative for existing owners and potential buyers of any of Dell’s netbooks. I recommend picking up the Mini 9 used on Craigslist or eBay as the newer models cannot be upgraded beyond 1GB memory.

I leave you with a photo demonstrating the space saving advantage of the Mini 9 vs. the T500. Drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad T500