Live Preview: Brother Ali at Metro


As the fiery lyrics of emcee Brother Ali and DJed beats of BK-One simmered down, sweat was dripping off my steaming skin and I headed to my car in the cool night air. I was amazed at how effortlessly Brother Ali led us in celebrating hip-hop’s krush-groove roots, its underground indie-rap present and promising future.

Rarely will I go back and re-read a past review I wrote.  But I was curious what I said and how I felt when I first saw Jason Newman (aka Brother Ali) at the Abbey Pub last year. 

So I took a quick peek before I head out to Ali’s show at the Metro tonight. 

And as you can tell by the snippet from last year’s review above, I was run over and wowed right from the start.

So now that I’ve seen him live before I sort of know what to expect.

But then there’s the new album.

After listening to his latest album Us, I’ve grown attached to the single “Fresh Air” and many others. And I’ll admit I’ve already started creating expectations in my mind based on what I’ve experienced before from Ali and what it’s like to see a show at the Metro.

Will Us translate live?

As with previous Brother Ali releases, the album is produced by Anthony Davis (aka Ant of Atmopshere). The production on the album is some of Ant’s best to date and Brother Ali has also stepped up his game with his rhymes and soulful rap-crooning.  Us has an undeniably honest and seering storytelling vibe that’s thick with sticky funk and boom-bap beats and filled with lush production mixing gospel-like choir choruses with quiet moments where one delicately placed note defines the moment.

But as Davis told me last year, he rarely joins Rhymesayers bands on tour so it will be interesting to see how DJ BK-One and Ali recreate the album in a live setting again.   I don’t doubt Ali’s ability to rock a crowd and I’m excited to see how he will reach in to the hearts of fans and use his road-tested emcee skills to the fullest.

Here’s a little taste of Ali live courtesy of Fuel TV’s Daily Habit

Photo credit: Colleen Catania

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