Brother Ali releases new demo tape, Left in the Deck

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Photo By Erik Hess

The level of success that Brother Ali achieved with Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color brought the talented local MC all around the world. Growing audiences identified with his incisive, politically charged songs and message of unity and enlightenment.

But rather than letting a long time out on the road keep him from writing and recording new material, Ali has been busy with producer Jake One, making new songs in hotel rooms and anywhere else that he felt inspired. And the raw, spirited results of Ali's efforts have just been made available on a new demo tape called Left in the Deck.

See Also: Brother Ali in His Own Words


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Brother Ali on Michele Bachmann: Nobody defeated her

Categories: Brother Ali
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Photo by Erik Hess
Brother Ali at Soundset 2013
As liberal-conservative pundit wars continue to resemble siblings trying to blame each other for the broken lamp in the living room that is our world, it's refreshing to get some straight talk from Brother Ali. Not to say that you'd be confused about how he feels about Michele Bachmann -- he's no fan. But his deeper concerns for Minnesota society don't let him celebrate the congresswoman not seeking re-election much.

Fans well know that Ali name-drops Bachmann in his collaboration with Atmosphere, Haphduzn, and Carnage "It Ain't the Prettiest," noting that "Minnesota's got a lot of bad habits to break." Well, today he gave a broader picture of what he means regarding Bachmann in a series of tweets.

See Also:
Michele Bachmann announces she will not seek reelection next year [VIDEO]
Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline


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Minnesota Twins should pick a Bob Dylan song for a new anthem

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Could the "boy" from the North Country be the answer for our drought? 
Summer un-officially began this month as pitchers and catchers reported to Florida to mark the start of another season of trying to survive in Twins territory. Even though about 12 inches of snow covers Target Field, we can still daydream of April 1 when the skies will be blue, and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will be healthy.

The Twins shipped off and cut players to build for 2014 and onward. (And the Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer Please Hurry Up plan is in full effect now.) So while they are making adjustments, can we ask to change one more thing? The music.

See Also:
Joe Mauer should dump T.I.'s "What You Know"
Ten local songs the Minnesota Twins should play at Target Field


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Brother Ali writes rap about his Nardwuar interview

Categories: Brother Ali
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Why should people care aboot Brother Ali? For one, this exists. After an engaging chat last year with Vancouver interviewer extraordinaire Nardwuar, Ali decided the experience was so fresh he'd write a song about it. Using some of the records that were used as conversation starters and samples from the interview itself, the rapper came up with an original song titled "Nardwuar."

See Also:
Brother Ali and Nardwuar, together at last

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Brother Ali and Nardwuar, together at last

Categories: Brother Ali
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Brother Ali was not gonna get out of Vancouver without a battle of wits with the great Canadian interviewer Nardwuar the Human Serviette, who asks questions for Stans the world over. Obviously, this is great. "You love blaxploitation, don't you?" "Um..." "The movies!" "Thank you for clarifying."

And things go on quite interesting tangents from then on. You get a lengthy shout out to Babes in Toyland's drummer Lori Barbero, Derrick "Delite" Stevens AKA MC Skat Kat, and a story about what happens when Prince hears Ali's "Fresh Air" played in his home. Ali's own comment on the Purple One: "Everything he does is full of sex." Watch this already!

See Also:
Cover Story: Brother Ali in His Own Words

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Atmosphere and more at Day of Dignity, 10/7/12

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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Day of Dignity
With Atmosphere, Stalley, Brother Ali, MaLLy, Sims, Y.N. Rich Kids and more
Masjid An-Nur, Minneapolis
Sunday, October 7, 2012


Day of Dignity returned for its second year with a cross-section of the greater Twin Cities hip hop community, and a combination of both performances and community outreach. In between listening to some of the city's brightest rap stars, attendees could scarf a free meal, learn how to file a civil rights complaint, swing by the barber for a free haircut, or check out other services and resources. Or they could stop in at Masjid An-Nur, the mosque where Brother Ali worships, and ask Ali himself where to stow their shoes before prayers.

These worlds were pleasantly colliding all day at the free festival, which Ali, the day's host, promises to make an annual event.

See also:
- Slideshow: Day of Dignity 2012
- Atmosphere tops Day of Dignity 2012 lineup
- Happy 40th birthday, Atmosphere's Slug: Seven of his lesser-known songs


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Atmosphere tops Day of Dignity 2012 lineup

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Photo by Erik Hess
Atmosphere at Soundset 2012's after party.
Last fall, Brother Ali helped launch Day of Dignity, a community outreach event at his mosque in north Minneapolis, Masjid An-Nur. Now, the tradition continues with Rhymesayers labelmate Atmosphere topping the 2012 bill, and Maybach Music Group rising star Stalley joining in too.

The second annual Day of Dignity brings focus to our community members in need and provides clothing, food, medical supplies, and obviously some solid entertainment. Taking a peek at the calendar, it looks like Ali himself might be in the neighborhood on this occasion.

See Also:
Brother Ali planning Day of Dignity, a community outreach event in North Minneapolis
Happy 40th birthday, Atmosphere's Slug: Seven of his lesser-known songs

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Brother Ali: The day my father died

Categories: Brother Ali
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Photo by Daniel Yang

The reflective voice of rapper Brother Ali caught our attention this year. He's the mind behind a new album out today, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color (UPDATE: stream the album below), which blends deeply personal experiences with a broader look at society. He's inspired by Jay-Z, Chuck D, and Dr. Cornel West -- but in a different and important way by the tumult in his family.

On "Stop the Press," Ali unfolds a particularly heavy time in his recent history. Losses of professional relationships, his pal Eyedea, and then there's this passage: "Got a phone call on the 4th of July/ My dad died, he committed suicide/ Shit should've been there for him/ Had to fly home from Europe to bury him." During a recent conversation at the Rhymesayers HQ in Minneapolis -- a ton of which ended up in this week's cover story -- Ali opened up about that moment. Here's a portion of his thoughts.

See Also:
Cover Story: Brother Ali in His Own Words
Brother Ali: The day I met Dr. Cornel West
Brother Ali: My fans are kicking the sh*t out of me over Trayvon Martin

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Five Brother Ali classics you've probably never heard

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Photo by Jonathan Mannion

See Also:
Cover Story: Brother Ali in His Own Words
Brother Ali: The day I met Cornel West

This week, hometown hero and indie rap superstar Brother Ali unleashes his new album Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. Declaring that it's not only a new album, but a new chapter in his career, we decided to mark the occasion by taking a look back at the best lesser-known jams that the big Brother has in his catalog. Like our rare Slug songs piece a few weeks back, we stuck to the rules of choosing nothing originally found on ANY official Brother Ali commercial releases. Here's five of the dopest deep cuts of his we could dig up.

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Brother Ali: The day I met Dr. Cornel West

Categories: Brother Ali
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Photo by Daniel Yang
See Also:
Cover Story: Brother Ali in his own words


Talk to Rhymesayers royalty Brother Ali lately and he's likely to sound like he's on the campaign trail. In a sense, he is. On Tuesday, September 18, music fans will have an important decision to make. The right one would be to pick up Ali's fifth album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, for a better tomorrow.

Gimme Noise spoke to Ali in this week's cover story, which does a lot to talk about his experiences and state of mind while creating and awaiting release of the album. He went to Mecca and he went to jail. But another story didn't fit in there. He met one of his heroes, Princeton scholar Dr. Cornel West, and recorded him for the album. The story of their meeting, as told by Ali, is below.


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