Artists You Should Know (ticket giveaway): Brother Ali

Brother Ali

“If rap didn’t exist, he’d be the greatest high school guidance counselor in Minneapolis. But as a talent in a scene that holds decades’ worth of some of the most sensitive identity politics of any popular culture movement in the last 50 years, Brother Ali has had to put that populism to good use.” —Pitchfork

We’re extremely excited to bring Brother Ali to town headlining the Fresh Air Tour next Thursday (Nov. 19th).  The mp3s we’ve offered here on the blog have been downloaded in a furious frenzy (get em here, and here), leading us to believe you’re just as amped to see this righteous, socially outspoken hip hop artist as we are.  Read on to find out more about Brother Ali and enter to win a pair of tickets to his show.


Genre: Hip Hop, Rap

Sounds Like: Atmosphere, Murs, P.O.S.

“Brother Ali’s music does not invite casual listening: It refuses to recede into the background. The Minneapolis rapper grabs listeners by the throat, a crazy-man gleam in his eyes, and angrily demands to be heard. On Us, his deeply humane new album, that mad-prophet intensity can be exhausting, exhilarating, and downright transcendent.” —The Onion

Win A Pair Of Tickets: On his new album, Brother Ali declares “Can’t nobody be free unless we’re all free/ There’s no me and you, it’s just us.”  Name someone or something who has made great strides to promote social unity.  It could be a personal friend, a historic figure, a piece of art–whatever influences you.  We just want to hear about it!  Get your comments posted by this Sunday, November 15th.  A winner will be notified shortly thereafter.

Show Info: Thursday, November 19th @ The Barrymore Theatre – 9:00pm $15 adv $18 dos – all ages

ticket button

11 Responses

  1. (The Unknown Prophets)—Clean Hip-Hop

  2. Immortal Technique. There ain’t two like him. “hardcore reality in hip-hop.” It is. In your face style about what’s really going on in this world and all of its injustices. He’s opened my eyes; And I’m thankful. Great addition to Soundset 09, too!!!

  3. Aside from Ali himself?

    My pops would be the next one. He did a lot of things I can only hope to come close to accomplishing. But that hope drives me forward, so only positivity can come from it.

  4. My bad, I read the question wrong, or more I answered it wrong. My dad’s the leader of this organization promoting unity in black people with state jobs, cause it seems most people in those positions are willing to sell their culture to keep there places, so it’s good to let them know it’s cool to be proud of yourself.

  5. There is an old man in my community who woke up in his sixties and realized he had been living life all backwards. After years of driving moto-cross through virgin deserts he decided to start doing all he can for the well being of people and the environment.

    Now, Ray Starret, works with an interfaith service group bettering our entire local community with services like helping people avoid loan sharks, returning to jail, and providing food security for families.

    Ray is also the founder of LAMP La Crosse Afghanistan Mine Project. This program funds teams to go to Afghanistan and remove landmines. Through this effort our community shows that it refuses to let American Foreigh Policy dictate our actions throughout the world.

    More than getting the Ali tickets (which would be rad), I am just glad I got to think through all the things that make Ray so awesome.

  6. I would say Damali Ayo, she is an artist, activist, feminist, comedian, novelist, and a racist DEMOLISHER! She did a speech at my college in Minnesota a few weeks ago about her new book and her experiences with racism throughout her life. Not only did she tell us what she has seen, but she told us what each of us can do to eliminate racism. She brought all the races in that room together by showing us what we don’t want to hear. She is powerful, and should be the type of woman girls look up to!

  7. I can’t answer with just one person, because no one person has ever made strides for social change on their own-it’s always one group uniting to further promote unity amongst a community. I have been involved in one of these groups for the past year or so in Milwaukee. Brewing Grounds for change is a volunteer-owned & operated coffee shop on the east side. It only uses fair trade/organic roasts, which we get from roasters here in the midwest (Peace Coffee & Just Coffee). Over the past five years, volunteers have come and gone but the obligation to helping others and offering a community organizing space has always remained number one amongst all of us here. All of the volunteers here are college students, passionate about human rights and equality in the workspace, and have a higher knowledge on what is REALLY going on with corporation hot shots like Starbucks who could care less about you or the farmers they’re knowingly exploiting for coffee every day. Throughout my year of service at Brewing Grounds, I have found myself a part of a family working together to take care of each other and the people around us. Here in Milwaukee, we have all found ourselves welcomed with open arms and this is a way to truly give back to the people who have always been so good to us, while also keeping the well-being of coffee bean farmers & their families’ wellness in mind. So essentially, I have to give credit to all of my comrades at the shop – no single one of us could do anything without the love and support of each other and the community surrounding us. -Jennell Jenney, Katie Curl, Emily Jansen, Milam Smith, Michael Hamilton, & Crystal Schmidt

  8. “Now renegades are people ,with their own philosophy,
    They change the course of history,Everyday people like you and me ”
    Afrika Bambaataa has done more for social unity than so many of the so-called civil rights leaders and spokesmen ever did. He grew up in a highly political environment ,his parents were activists,in the projects of The Bronx. Growing up in the Bronx never has nor will ever be easy but the in the 70’s it was like a burned out war zone where the only protection for you was a gang. After years of bangin’ ,Bambaataa had become warlord of what became the Black Spades. After building it into the largest gang in New York,he won a trip to Africa,where he picked up his new name,Afrika Bambaataa,and a vision of unity.He returned to the Bronx and formed The Bronx River Organization(BRO) and then later The Universal Zulu Nation.
    Using his organizing skills he used to build up the gangs he was determined to bring the same kids into the peacemaking world through hip hop. Many credit him with even coming up with naming hip hop as we know it today. With The Zulu Nation, Bambaataa brought all the graff writers,dj crews,breakers, and gangsters together on some real social and political awareness trip. Beginning 36 years ago today 11/12/1973,Bambaataa began what by 1982 with the release of Planet Rock a sensation that literally spread around the world.
    Later, with the release of Renegades of Funk , Afrika would proclaim in the opening verse “No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop this now!”. By 1987, nobody in the “civilized” world hadn’t been exposed to at least one form of hip hop or another,for better or worse.Hell, I can remember Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble rockin’ fat ass Dukey ropes and shell toes selling Fruity Pebbles during Saturday morning cartoons.It was everywhere.
    That was the worst of it .The best though is that so many black,brown,asian, and white kids finally found an unbreakable link between them:the beats.Inside those beats laid maps and diaries of where we all came from, who we dreamed we could be, and the cautionary,sometimes glorified, tales of darkness and strife. For me personally, Public Enemy saved me from a don’t worry,be happy 80’s culture that I couldn’t possibly relate to.I knew that Reagan was the devil,homelessness was epidemic, and there was no way crack just materialized out of thin air and into the ghetto. Chuck D confirmed all my suspicions and more.
    So now as a grown man with a preteen girl who walks around my world singing the hooks to Brother Ali songs mixed in with snippets of Rage Against the machine or Saul Williams , I am stunned to realize she is the new child of hip hop , the next wave of activist,poet,color blind,record lovin’ ,great grandchild of Afrika Bambaataa. Without his influence on our culture and his tireless promotion of the four elements of hip hop, my daughter wouldn’t live in a world where a half blind albino Muslim, a Italian skater and graffiti writer from Venice Beach , and a black dude from Minnesota are going to be on stage 1.6 miles from our home in Madison. She will be at the show, regardless of free tickets or not, and she will damn sure know that she shouldn’t thank me. She needs to be thanking Afrika Bambaataa.

  9. Creating social unity is never achieved by just one person. You need a group of people with the same goal in mind to unite first, and only then can social unity occur. I know this so well because, over the last year, I’ve been a part of a group promoting change within the community and it happens to be a small worker-owned & operated coffee shop on the city’s east side.

    Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America, also being host to very high unemployment rates in impoverished neighborhoods. I am a volunteer at Milwaukee’s Brewing Grounds For Change, a 100% fair trade organic coffee shop working to bring people from all over together for a love of humanity. Often times, people ask what’s in it for me, once they hear that I don’t get a paycheck for my time spent at the shop. My response is often pretty simple, that fair trade coffee is a passion of mine on a level deeper than “it just tastes better” because it is that…but it’s also so much more! The importance of fair trade coffee lies at the very beginning, where the coffee comes from. All of our coffee is from farmers who are being paid fairly for their hard work & are receiving the insurance that their families are going to be taken care of. We buy our coffee through roasters based in the Midwest, to keep this as local as it gets (Peace Coffee & Just Coffee). These roasters have built the relationships with the farmers the coffee beans are coming from, bringing all of this onto a much more personal level.

    Gaining a knowledge of the exploitation of farmers and their families in other countries where coffee beans are generally harvested has been something I’ve had the opportunity to learn much about over the last year. It’s something I’m heavily convinced isn’t going to be covered at a shop like Starbucks, who could care less about you or the people they knowingly exploit for coffee. This brings me to my next topic on why we at Brewing Grounds are creating social unity every day.

    How often are people forced to go into a Starbucks simply because it’s what they’re familiar with? You know what to expect when you walk in there – a sterile environment with a barista who wants to serve you quickly, no conversation beyond what you’ve ordered and how much money you owe. At Brewing Grounds, we have made it a point to be as personable as possible. From greeting you when you walk in the front door to knowing when to expect you to walk in and what you’re going to order…we’re observing everything that goes on in our shop so that we can better serve and unite the people we encounter day to day. Not only that, but we have ties to many radical groups in the community who are fighting for other causes that we are also a part of, many of which hold meetings in our shop on a regular basis.

    In closing, I have to truly consider all of my comrades at Brewing Grounds as my heroes working toward social unity. We’re building a community by uniting over something that we’ve found people love – coffee. One must start somewhere and we’ve been able to get our foot in the door of Milwaukee with this beautifully eccentric coffee house. It started with a love for coffee, which led to a love and sense of family amongst ourselves as a group, which we have now passed on to the community around us – the community that welcomed all of us with open arms when we decided to move here…and we will continue to pass on the love and unity to the people around us until fair trade coffee becomes the only way of doing it. Our main objective is still clear, Milwaukee.

    -Brewing Grounds For Change is: Crystal Schmidt, Jennell Jenney, Katie Curl, Emily Jansen, Milam Smith, & Michael Hamilton – all of which are college students and 100% volunteers.

  10. President Obama… says during his inaugural speech “for we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth … We cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass, that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve, that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.”
    This is just one part of many of his eloquent talks on social unity. I believe this is just the beginning and that President Obama will be opening many doors and playing a huge role in ushering in a new era of peace.

  11. Wow! We are generally very impressed by the quality of intelligent, thought-provoking responses our readers leave, but these are really special. Thanks guys!
    Bryan won this one, but we hope you’ll all make it out to Brother Ali’s show–especially since his message seems to resonate so strongly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: