Brother Ali is a rapper from Minneapolis with about a dozen releases to his name under Rhymesayers. His most recent album, Us, was just recently released and he is currently touring with long time collaborator BK-One, who also has a recent release that we wrote about in our first article of the series. Â Rapper Fashawn, critically acclaimed as one of the hottest rising stars in the game (for good reason) is also on the Breakin’ Dawn Tour, and had an incredible opening performance in Toronto just a few nights ago, as you may glean from the video at the bottom of the post where Ali, BK, and Fashawn close out the show with a HUGE track called Breakin’ Dawn Boys.
One of Ali’s goals in making music is to communicate who he is as a person, while imbuing his rhymes with the lessons he’s learned through his life. Overall his songs have excellent lyrics, and the singles are very accessible. For those prepared to dig deep and listen to his volumes, be prepared to get to know this man very well; as he says on his album The Undisputed Truth “If you follow my tapes then you know what I’m about”. With that said, there are a ton of interesting things I could say about the experiences and qualities of Ali that have informed his music, but I get the sense that enough has been said about who he is. Indeed, if there was one message I took from his live show, it was that “there is no me, and there is no you; there is only us”.
An interesting quip that I picked out of an interview he did recently, involving some word use off his first album (he used the word faggot):
I was ignorant when I was first recording… This song is kind of a penance, because there are people walking around in their headphones saying “faggot” because of me.
An awesome quote, I think. Too many people are too wrapped up in consuming and producing the rap ego these days, and Ali just doesn’t buy in. I think the tough subjects and growth embedded in his latest record speak truer than ever.
You can read more about Brother Ali on his myspace, and if you’d like to hear more from his albums or find them for purchase, you should check his Rhymesayers Profile.
The track Baby Girl, off Us, is not a light introduction to Brother Ali – it is perhaps the heaviest track off the record.
[audio:Brother Ali – Babygirl.mp3]
Forest Whitiker is practically an anthem off Ali’s 2003 album Shadows of the Sun. As you can hear, his core message “you aint gotta love me” hasn’t waivered in his last 10 years of releases.
[audio:Brother Ali – Forest Whitiker.mp3]
The Breakin’ Dawn tour is on now, until May 2, 2010. Here are the dates: