Brother Ali defeats the odds

Brother Ali
Brother Ali

Over the past 17 years, pioneering rapper Brother Ali has earned wide critical acclaim for his deeply personal, socially conscious, and inspiring brand of hip-hop.

His latest release via Rhymesayers Entertainment ‘All The Beauty In This Whole Life’ is based on the “reality that beauty is the splendour of truth" says the Minneapolis MC. "Beauty in all of its forms is the outward manifestation of love and virtue. It soothes the soul and pulls it gently toward the truth it communicates. Every word and note of this album is intended to either reflect beauty, or expose the ugliness that blocks us from living lives of meaning."

He is to return to the UK with ‘The Own Light Tour’ for the first time in four years around the new release (see tour dates below)

However, alongside his incredible talent and solid status as a well-respected artist, he has not had the easiest ride. Having been born with albinism, he also has vision loss, it effected his life growing up both physically and socially.

Ali said "Yep, I was the albino kid, until I was about 8 or 9 years old, I discovered that I didn't always have to be just the albino kid. I could be the albino kid that raps, b-boys, and can breakdance."

Finding his passion from a young age through hip-hop, it inspired and pushed Ali to overcome his disabilities and strive for something much greater. "When I was 7 or 8 years old, I could say every Melle Mel rap there ever was. You know, Slick Rick, Run DMC I knew all of these guys' rhymes and I could recite them verbatim and almost do their voice.

It was kind of like a party trick; I would go to a new school and try to find the hip-hop kids, and I might just walk up and just start doing Run DMC at the top of my lungs. I would make friends like that.”

Ali moved from town to town in the upper Midwest, from his birthplace of Madison, to small towns throughout Michigan before settling in Minneapolis. As you might expect, the move from school to school was tough on him, as it would be for any child.

"As I became a teenager, I started writing my own songs and it became about more of an identity thing for me, that this is how I relate to the world. Because you know, being albino really is different. You're not really a part of anything, in terms of just normal identity."

However after his move to Minneapolis and eventually coming into contact with legendary hip-hop label Rhymesayers (Atmosphere, Dilated Peoples, Aesop Rock), he had overcome his disabilities to have become a massive inspiration to many over his career.

Today, Brother Ali is a dedicated Muslim and community activist who spreads the message of peace and love, and has established himself as one of the most respected independent voices in music.

This also shines through within the new album produced entirely by Atmosphere’s Anthony “Ant” Davis, it is Ali’s first official release in five years, and represents the newest and most refined chapter of his life's journey.

Contrasting intensely heavy moments with joyous and grateful ones, ‘All the Beauty in This Whole Life’ arrives right on time, to help heal a divided nation through the power of music. Ali wouldn’t have it any other way.

He said "In times of great suffering in the outside world, the most important battles start from within. Each of my albums are the result of the pain, growth and eventual healing that I experience. Articulating the pain and navigating the healing allows the people who really feel my music to travel with me. It's not only that we hurt together, we heal together as well."

‘The Own Light Tour’

21st November- Manchester The Deaf Institute

22nd November- Leeds Brudenell Social Club

23rd November- London The Dome

24th November- Brighton The Haunt

Tickets are on sale now: