Brother Ali

Brother Ali

Infobox musical artist
Name = Brother Ali

Img_capt =
Img_size = 187
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Jason Newman
Alias =
Born =
Died =
Origin = flagicon|USA Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Instrument =
Genre = Hip hop
Occupation = Rapper, Producer
Years_active = 1999–Present
Label = Rhymesayers Entertainment/Warner Music Group
Associated_acts =
URL = [ Official Website]
[ Rhymesayers Entertainment]
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Brother Ali (born Jason Newman, now Ali Newman) is an American hip hop artist.


Jason Newman originally from Madison, Wisconsin, converted from Judaism to Islam and became Ali when he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota at age 15, where he became involved in the local hip hop scene. Ali is currently signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment, a hiphop record label founded by Brent Sayers, Musab S'ad Ali, Derek Turner, Anthony Davis, and Slug, the frontman of Minnesota rap group Atmosphere, with whom Ali has become fast friends.Due to his original reluctance to discuss his race, it was at first wrongly reported that he was African American. Like many albino people, Brother Ali is also legally blind. He has stated "I'm albino, my family is white, but I was really raised, and taught my important life lessons, by the black community."cite web|url=|title=Brother Ali|publisher="The Onion"|author=Brusie, David|date=2007-04-26|accessdate=2007-10-20] [cite web|url=|title=Dark Star|publisher="City Pages"|author=Scholtes, Peter S.|date=2007-04-11|accessdate=2007-10-20] Although his appearance made him the brunt of bullying in high school (his response is chronicled on the track "Win Some, Lose Some"), he has come to be unabashedly proud of his distinctive features, celebrating it in a track called "Forest Whitiker", where he called on "anyone out there who's a little different" to stand up and exult in who they are, rather than stay ashamed. Ali is also a devout Muslim, religion being a theme that is mentioned in several of his songs including "Self taught" and "Victory."

Though he initially produced his own material (his cassette tape-only "Rites of Passage" (2000) was self-produced), Brother Ali turned to Ant (Anthony Davis), Rhymesayers Entertainment's in-house producer, to produce his first two major releases on Rhymesayers, 2003's "Shadows on the Sun" and 2004's "Champion EP", on which he sampled the Black Ivory track "It's Time To Say Goodbye" in "Love On Display". The albums immediately proved popular with fans who had largely been introduced to Ali when he opened for Atmosphere on their national tour for the "God Loves Ugly" album. Ant's funk- and soul-inflected beats often matched the gravitas of Ali's rhymes. Ali's buoyant, agile flow and exuberant, expressive voice resonated on key tracks such as "Star Quality," "Picket Fence," "Forest Whitiker," "Chain Link," and "Rain Water."

Ali's second LP, "The Undisputed Truth", was initially due out on March 6, 2007 but was later postponed to an April 10, 2007 release date. The single "Truth Is" was released in early 2007, with "Freedom Ain't Free" as the B side. Both tracks slightly strayed from Ant's trademark soul dipped style, and were tinged with a dub/roots reggae influence.

Brother Ali tours with his DJ, BK One, occasionally his hype man Toki Wright (who asserts that he is not a "hype man", but a "live band"), and has opened for Rakim, Kid Capri, and Brand Nubian, among others.

Ali has a son named Faheem, who he refers to often and who is also the subject of the track by the same name from the album "The Undisputed Truth." Faheem sometimes travels with Ali and has his own song on the Mixtape "Off the Record" called "Original Prince", which he has performed live.

Ali's third single, "Take Me Home," was made into a music video that was circulated by MTV, as well as made available by Ali through MySpace and YouTube. [] .


Brother Ali has been featured in the hip hop magazine The Source twice. The first was in August 2007, when he had the "Hip Hop Quotable" for a verse in "Uncle Sam Goddamn".

In October 2007 he was featured in an interview in The Source. In May 2007, he was featured in Rolling Stone as a "New Artist to Watch".

TV Appearances

On August 13, 2007 Brother Ali appeared on The Late Late Show and performed his single, Uncle Sam Goddamn off of The Undisputed Truth. On October 19, 2007 Ali appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and performed "Take Me Home" from The Undisputed Truth.

He was also seen on KARE 11 in Minneapolis on Monday September 15, 2008 in a community action segment, discussing teens focus on their communities. People questioned why the cameraman photographed his "bad side" showing the huge melanoma behind his left ear. Also feedback came through on why he was trying to talk like he was from the hood.


Brother Ali has said many times in interviews that he finds much of his inspiration in the 'golden era' of hip hop. In particular, he has highlighted KRS-One and Rakim on numerous occasions.cite web|url=|title=Rhymesayers Homepage - Brother Ali Biography|author=Rhymesayers Entertainment|accessmonthday = May 23 | accessyear=2007]

In an interview in early 2007, Ali memorably responded to a question about the response to his and his label's music, and the current music industry,

They just like to see something new. Like, we benefit so much right now from the fact that music sucks, and that, there's so little originality. And there's so few people that are really trying to do something a little bit different so that if you're just even a little bit different. You know what I mean? People are just like 'yeah,' you know. As long as you're good and as long as you know how to present yourself, and you know. But I think that people are just happy to see something a little bit different for a change, you know.cite web|url=|title=Brother Ali interview with Barber Shop Hip Hop|author=Nuntida|source=You Tube]

"Uncle Sam Goddamn" Controversy

Brother Ali has been under pressure from the recording industry due to lyrics from his recent song "Uncle Sam Goddamn", claiming creative interference from "somebody I don't wanna name, but some of you probably has they cell phones." The unnamed corporation ultimately withdrew its sponsorship for Ali, causing him to truncate parts of his current tour. [cite web|url=|title=Truth Is - Live in Portland|author=Brother Ali] The song is notably critical of the American government, with accusations that the American political system is addicted to war.





*"Room With a View" b/w "Star Quality" & "Bitchslap!" (Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2003)
*"Champion (Remix)" b/w "Forest Whitiker" (Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2004)
*"Truth Is" b/w "Freedom Ain't Free" & "Original King" (Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2007)
*"Uncle Sam Goddamn" (2007)
*"Life Sentence EP" (2007)
*"Forest Whitaker" (Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2007)


Uncle Sam Goddamn EP (2007)


External links

* [ Official Website]
*myspace|brotherali|Brother Ali
* [ Rhymesayers Entertainment]
* [ Artist profile at Rhymesayers Entertainment]
* [ Live at SXSW 2007] on [ 89.3 The Current]
* [ Interview at Format Mag]
* [ "Dark Star. Wrong image, wrong religion, wrong city: Meet Brother Ali, hip hop's unlikely savior"] City Pages (4/11/07)
* [ Brother Ali: In Focus] - Photo gallery from City Pages
* [ "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"] Complicated Fun (4/10/07)
* [ "The Undisputed Truth" Review]
* [ a July 2008 Interview with Brother Ali]

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