Brother Ali Returns. After Being Profiled By Feds, He Puts Pen To Paper (Video)
Brother Ali went from one of the breakout stars of independent Hip-Hop in the 2000s to rather quiet in the last five years. The Minneapolis, Minnesota MC who is a keystone in the Rhymesayers family has not dropped a project since his 2013 freebie, Left In The Deck.
In the three and a half years since, Ali appeared on albums by Talib Kweli, but kept an unusually low profile, especially after nearly breaking the Top 40 with ’12’s Mourning In America and Dreaming in Color. Today, it was confirmed cryptically that this is all about to change.
R.S.E. released a video for “Pen To Paper.” Details are limited, but label representatives confirmed “new Brother Ali album on the way.” It is unclear if Ali is still backed by Warner Bros. distribution, or if he will be working with Atmosphere’s Ant or Jake One (both of whom the MC has made full LPs with). Instead, all Heads get is a slow tracking shot with the artist at the end of a long, darkened hallway.
In his verse, Brother Ali tells the story of what rhyming and Hip-Hop means to him. He also alludes to being profiled by the US government and losing sponsorships, perhaps for making “Uncle Sam Goddamn.” The melodic delivery is in great form, as Brother Ali may have won big by making fans wait.
“This is more than music to me / This is ancestors speaking through me / At the tomb of Rumi / My mic’s a rifle, I’m honor bound to fire my weapon truly / Whether they cheer me, jeer me, boo me, salute me, or just shoot me / Let it be known / My whole life I break that cycle, set it in stone / I’d still rather be known as a man that stand on my own / Rather than beg at the throne.”
Photo from Instagram by Legendarien.