Every Friday night on KEXP I do a show called Nite Life at 9pm. In the midnight hour I choose a record from my personal collection and bring you trax and stories from that album.
Tonightâ€™s Midnight Album Feature is Brother Ali‘s The Undisputed Truth, his album from 2007. Brother Aliâ€™s real name is Jason Newman and he’s from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was born an albino so he was bullied a lot as a kid and turned to rhyme and music to find strength and express himself. What I love about Brother Ali is that heâ€™s very personal and real. He tells stories about whatâ€™s going on in his life and the state of his mind at the moment. The song â€œLookinâ€™ at Me Sidewaysâ€ is a soul-infused track, I love how he mixes in the layers of soul and then just throws a rhyme at you â€“ he is such a smart rhymer.
Just to give you a general idea of the range of this album: it has really great dance songs and also has a political song, â€œUncle Sam Goddamn.â€
Another masterful soul infusion into hip-hop by Brother Ali. Heâ€™s constantly touring. He’s played more than 500 shows and he uses his personal experiences to write his songs, itâ€™s very clear. Brother Ali ended a 10-year marriage and then fought for custody of his son, and this next song â€œWalking Awayâ€ is about that. I think this is his most personal song on the album. I love how the fans in the video know all the words to his songs!
Brother Ali is so wise, heâ€™s obviously been having a hard time in life but he looks at things from this lit-up point of view and he just has it together. Heâ€™s real. I believe him, I do. I wish there were more artists that took chances like he does.