Album Art

"Letter to My Countrymen" ft. Cornel West — the honest, heartfelt intro track to Brother Ali’s new album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. This song has been on repeat all week.

One thing that can’t be debated
Power never changed on its own, you gotta make it
That’s why Community is so sacred
That’s the symbol that we make when we raise fists

ArtistBrother Ali
TitleLetter To My Countrymen Featuring Dr. Cornel West
AlbumMourning In America And Dreaming In Color

Anticipation…

There are a lot of good hip hop albums coming out in the next few weeks. I’m about to be broke buying all this music!

I know…it’s weird to hear that people still buy music these days, but I like to show my support for the independent artists (or those who are in the mainstream, but are still very different from most of the other artists you hear on the radio).

Don’t get it twisted though, I’ll bootleg the hell out of a Jay-Z or Kanye album — they already have enough money.

9/18: Brother Ali “Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color”

9/25: Lupe Fiasco “Food & Liquor 2” and Murs & Fashawn “This Generation”

10/2: Bambu “…One Rifle Per Family”

10/9: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “The Heist”

10/16: Dumbfoundead “Take the Stares”

The cover art for Brother Ali’s next album, coming out on September 18th.  This one is definitely gonna cause some controversy and piss off a lot of people, but that’s one of the many reasons why he’s one of my favorite MCs — he’s not afraid to take a stand for who he is and what he’s about.

The cover art for Brother Ali’s next album, coming out on September 18th. This one is definitely gonna cause some controversy and piss off a lot of people, but that’s one of the many reasons why he’s one of my favorite MCs — he’s not afraid to take a stand for who he is and what he’s about.

I just finished uploading the footage I shot from the Brother Ali show earlier this week. Make sure to check out my YouTube channel for more of his set as well as performances from other talented artists (who also happen to be my friends)!!

Oh, you know…just chillin’ with Brother Ali after the show. haha. I didn’t get to talk to him for as long as I would’ve liked since there was a long line behind me, but I definitely got a real genuine/humble vibe from him.  I’ve met artists after shows and some of them give off a “when is this s**t gonna be over with so I can get out of here?” vibe, but he definitely wasn’t like that. My other friend even stayed until after the line was gone and said he got to chill with him for a decent amount of time just to chop it up. If I wasn’t so sleepy, I probably would’ve stuck around too.

A few other observations/reflections from the show:

1.) I’m working on conquering that fear or hesitancy to bring out my camera in different situations.  I originally left it in my car because I didn’t want to be that guy, but once I saw others with theirs then I eventually brought it in. This was my first time shooting a live performance where I didn’t know the artists or I wasn’t one of the event organizers, so it was a good start to getting out of my camera comfort zone. I need to practice a lot more though.

2.) Being focused on the camera or tweeting about what you’re doing does take away from the live show experience. There were a few times when Brother Ali kinda touched on that and looked at me in the front row w/my camera, so I did feel a little guilty at certain points, but he still did it in a constructive way that didn’t alienate anyone. He could’ve been a dick about it, but he was real cool actually. Once I put the camera down, I did have a lot more fun.

3.) I probably look like I’m hella cheesin’ it in this pic, but for a long time now it’s been my personal mission to break the stereotype of non-smiling rappers. What? We aren’t allowed to have fun? lol. I like to smile and laugh a lot, so it looks really unnatural when I try to do those “stare at the camera with a stone face and look hard” pictures that rappers typically do. I’ve tried some of those pictures and my homies just tell me to stop. “Dude, you don’t know how to do it.” S’all good, yo. I’m cool with that.

Oh, you know…just chillin’ with Brother Ali after the show. haha. I didn’t get to talk to him for as long as I would’ve liked since there was a long line behind me, but I definitely got a real genuine/humble vibe from him. I’ve met artists after shows and some of them give off a “when is this s**t gonna be over with so I can get out of here?” vibe, but he definitely wasn’t like that. My other friend even stayed until after the line was gone and said he got to chill with him for a decent amount of time just to chop it up. If I wasn’t so sleepy, I probably would’ve stuck around too.

A few other observations/reflections from the show:

1.) I’m working on conquering that fear or hesitancy to bring out my camera in different situations. I originally left it in my car because I didn’t want to be that guy, but once I saw others with theirs then I eventually brought it in. This was my first time shooting a live performance where I didn’t know the artists or I wasn’t one of the event organizers, so it was a good start to getting out of my camera comfort zone. I need to practice a lot more though.

2.) Being focused on the camera or tweeting about what you’re doing does take away from the live show experience. There were a few times when Brother Ali kinda touched on that and looked at me in the front row w/my camera, so I did feel a little guilty at certain points, but he still did it in a constructive way that didn’t alienate anyone. He could’ve been a dick about it, but he was real cool actually. Once I put the camera down, I did have a lot more fun.

3.) I probably look like I’m hella cheesin’ it in this pic, but for a long time now it’s been my personal mission to break the stereotype of non-smiling rappers. What? We aren’t allowed to have fun? lol. I like to smile and laugh a lot, so it looks really unnatural when I try to do those “stare at the camera with a stone face and look hard” pictures that rappers typically do. I’ve tried some of those pictures and my homies just tell me to stop. “Dude, you don’t know how to do it.” S’all good, yo. I’m cool with that.

Inspired…

I’ll write in more detail later and will also have photos/videos to share, but I just got home from watching one of my favorite MCs, Brother Ali, rock with a live band in Santa Monica tonight. I really look up to him as an artist, so it was dope to finally get to see him perform live. I’m extremely tired and sleepy right now, but I’m also really inspired.

Gotta keep dreaming, gotta keep working…

Really saddened by a lot of the responses (and lack of response) to Trayvon Martin’s murder and the lack of prosecution of his killer. A lot of us allow our white privilege to blind us and even make us bitter to the idea of racial equity. It’s not about guilt, it’s about taking responsibility for the fact that our society unjustly favors us to the detriment and sometimes death of others. This isn’t an isolated tragedy between two individuals. Our society has a legacy of hatred, suspicion and devaluing of non white people. Our grandparents lynched black people publicly (not even 100 yrs ago) and were never prosecuted. In our own generation we’ve killed Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo (the list goes on and on) without justice. Now this man shot and killed an innocent boy who’s blackness made him suspicious and he’s walking around free right now. The reality is that literally any black kid could’ve been in that place and time doing nothing wrong and be dead right now with no justice for his killer. This is who we are, but its not who we need to be. Brother Ali
Check out the FREE EP that Brother Ali released today.  I still need to give it a thorough listen, but I can’t get enough of that first verse on track 3…Phonte does it again!

Check out the FREE EP that Brother Ali released today. I still need to give it a thorough listen, but I can’t get enough of that first verse on track 3…Phonte does it again!

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’d say that he had perfect timing with this video release. Go ‘head Brother Ali…

Another dope track from one of my favorite MCs.

I ain’t tryna be one of them dudes
that make hundreds of new songs and none of ‘em are good
some of ‘em are cool but they ain’t say nothin’ new
running through a verse just for something to do
I wanna be the cat that put the straw on the back
of the camel and send him to the chiroprac
I wanna write a line that’s in your head all day
songs that make you say you never felt that way
look, I’m tryna give myself goosebumps, okay?
find the truth inside me and put it on display
many dedicated folks listen to me close
I open my inner soul and put it in my quotes
some flood the blogs, some flood the streets
I don’t flood nothing, I’m watering the seeds

sometimes I don’t write a lot
I know some folks call that Writer’s Block
I just call it my process
it comes out when it’s ready to, I guess…