Brother Ali | Pen to Paper [2017 Audio]

Brother Ali emerges from a fairly quiet studio presence since the release of his 2012 album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color (as well as the Left in the Deck EP (2013)), with this short, to-the-point single, “Pen to Paper”. The simplicity of the visual treatment keeps Ali’s words front and center, while still keeping the viewer’s eyes engaged. The suspense created as the camera moves toward Ali, matched with the timely reveal of the clearly focused emcee, mirrors the suspense eager fans feel as we await the release of his forthcoming “announcement”.

Apparently Brother Ali took a hit after the proliferation of his last LP when the “US government profiled [him] and the sponsors dropped [him]”. Thankfully, “this is more than music to [Ali], this is ancestors speaking through [him],” which means that he will speak his mind until he’s “dead and gone.” Until that day comes, big Brother the beast’s voice is wanted (by hip hop fans as well as activists) and needed, and it feels like Ali’s music has been crafted and shaped by God for this moment in American history. There are few who can so poignantly cut through the facade of the American dream and get to the heart of the reality behind such a dream; it only makes sense that Brother Ali would tap that vein since, at 13, he met one of his biggest influences, KRS-One, who suggested he study the history of the struggle (Malcolm X specifically). That helped to set a course that was already being forged and the rest is hip hop history. Brother Ali would go on to help carry KRS’ torch, both in his presence as a master of ceremonies, as well as in his socially aware, professor-esque, execution.

This is exciting.

Peace, Love & Hip Hop,

– #SDLovesHipHop

#SDLovesHipHop exists to carry on a conversation about hip hop music and culture as a catalyst for change in individuals’ lives and communities. If any of the artists above, or this article has struck a chord in you, SHARE THIS and PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT explaining how.

PS – I don’t know how I missed this gem over the years, but I feel it is worth a listen:


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