Brother Ali

Unique in the world of hip-hop as both an albino and a devout Muslim, Brother Ali's personal, worldly and politically-charged rhymes made him an important, pioneering force on the independent rap scene in the US. Born Jason Newman in Madison, Wisconsin, he started rapping at eight-years-old and converted to Islam at 15 after visiting Malaysia where he studied a liberal, global vision of the religion. He was married with a son at 17, but got his break when underground DIY label Rhymesayers Entertainment took a liking to his demo tape and released a cassette album 'Rites of Passage' in 2000. His reputation grew when he finished runner-up in a prestigious rap battle at the huge Ohio hip-hop festival Scribble Jam, and with the help of producer Anthony Taylor, the albums 'Shadows in the Sun' and 'The Undisputed Truth' brought him even wider attention. It was the controversial single 'Uncle Sam Goddamn' however, that really turned heads and sparked a ton of headlines. Inspired by Nina Simone's 'Mississippi Goddamn', it talked about slavery and was critical of the US government and led to Ali losing sponsorship deals and being investigated by Homeland Security. A hip-hop historian inspired by the old school rappers of the 1980s, Ali also talked openly about his personal life - his struggles with fatherhood, divorce and his albinism have been regular themes throughout his work. This mix of political agitation and spirituality came together on his most acclaimed album 'Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color' in 2012, on which he positioned himself as an 'agent of mercy', preached tolerance and also talked about personal loss and pain. His activism led him to speak at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in 2013 and featured on tracks with Public Enemy, Grieves and Talib Kweli, before returning in 2017 with his sixth studio album 'All This Beauty in this Whole Life'.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Brother Ali

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.