Brother Ali Live at The Fillmore Photo and Review


We’ve covered Brother Ali a few times here at SF Critic, so we decided to mix it up a bit this time around. To start, here’s a video of Slug’s surprise appearance that night with Ali.

It was surprising to see the Fillmore filled to nearly 75% capacity after the Giants had just won Game 2 of the World Series. Ali even proclaimed, “Man, when we first walked in, I only saw about 100 people, but I guess you motherfuckers showed up after the game. That’s tight.” Even for myself, a near ten year fan, I found myself questioning for a moment whether I was really going to be able make it out: I had just taken the assignment on last minute, but as always, the energy he brought was top-notch, and reminded me why I truly believe he is the best rapper in hip hop today. (Frank Ocean is the best songwriter, and Ali is the best rapper.) Ali has an innate ability to vividly depict stories, while harmonizing to add texture. He incorporate wordplay and rhyming schemes that are unmatched by most artists.

His newest record, Mourning in America, was out on October 12th.He refocused the songwriting on this record in an effort to help spread positive truth and has taken on key issues we deal with on a daily basis here in this country: the obscene inconsistencies and hypocrisy that have plagued our government, and how it has become obvious that they want an unhealthy, uneducated and dispassionate society. A society that is rich with its own hate towards each other, instead of one that despises the machine that has created it.

This is evident in the third verse of “Work Everyday:”

People stressing here’s the question
How they get people drinking tea in a recession
It’s deception how absurd is this
How are so many poor people conservative?

A pro artist I put it in the good music
A con artist job’s to make you look stupid
Lookie here I’ll teach you how to look trough it
First thing you need to know every con got a hook to it

They seduce you with a little wealth
Say you could have some of these crumbs for yourself
If the government doesn’t make us help anyone else
You stuck a red sign on your foreclosed house

Make you think you’re taking back your nation
Then they turn it over to a major corporation
Those companies took the jobs overseas
And you handed them the wallet out your pocket for free

You’re staring in the sky with dollar signs for eyes
The blind right wing of a bird that can’t fly
Just a peacock with a poked out gut
Who’s too fat to fly so his ass just strut but

If you’ve never heard Ali, you can literally pickup any record and be impressed. The welcomed appearance of Slug performing “Blah. Blah. Blah” made for a great cap to a World Series weekend. We will be sure to cover our friends over at Rhyemsayers whenever they are in town, so stay posted for more. Hip hop is alive and well, you just have to know where to find it.

-All media and article by Darryl Kirchner.