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Brother Ali Give US His All at the 1st Bank Center

Many thought it an odd choice to have the Rhymesayers emissary, Brother Ali, open up a show for, Bassnectar, one of the most successful DJ/Musicians currently touring today. However, after his opening salvo and subsequent hour long set, Ali quieted all the naysayers and quite possibly won a few new fans along the way.

Showing that his heart and his art are equally adaptable to throngs of glow-stick waving ravers as it is to your average underground head nodders, Ali grabbed the momentum quickly and didn’t let go until the last lights faded from the stage.

Powered by his optimism, Ali rallied the crowd to “celebrate life” and assured them that this hip-hop cat in the middle of a dance party was here to kick-start the revolution by spreading the love and connecting with the people.

With that he dove head first into a track off his most recent LP, US, letting the party people know that he loves the life that he leads…and that they should strive to as well. He continued, as the sold-out crowd waved hands and hoola-hoops and everything else in the air, with a song from his Undisputed Truth album “Truth Is Here.”

And, indeed it was.

Ali whipped the crowd into a frenzy with hardcore beats, some reggae infused joints and a well placed word to elicit the desired response from the throngs of onlookers.

With the song “Tightrope,” from his US, he brought the room to a wild frenzy. The song, which presented three stories—one about a kid from a broken home, another facing the reality of his homosexuality in this world where tolerance is not always given, and another about a homeless person—had everyone on their feet, even those in the seated area.

Ali continued in this vein by offering up “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” his most direct political statement, and one of his hardest driving beats (reminiscent of vintage Public Enemy), and while the message might have been missed by most of those gyrating teens and young adults, the vibe infused by Ant’s beat was most assuredly felt.

Though he shied away from most of his battle records, and even those strictly party geared joints in favor of his evening’s agenda of life affirmation and love amongst the people, Ali did take a moment to bring his Deejay, DJ Snuggles, from behind the boards to center stage for an old school beatbox/ freestyle rhyme session. The audience seemed to love this mix of raw emotion and back-to-basics hip hop, even exclaiming “this is some historic shit right here!”

Afterwards, Ali cemented his love and peace movement with his semi-autobiographical song “Rain Water,” the be-yourself/love-yourself anthem “Forest Whitaker,” and an a cappella salvo to the women—which had them all screaming and cheering for more. The Brother quickly responded by finishing up the set with a medley of tunes that included the up-tempo “Blah Blah Blah” (which he usually does with Slug of Atmosphere), and culminating with the mucho positive head-nodder “Take Me Home.”

Brother Ali proved that if you bring a positive vibe and truly love what it is you are doing, you can pass this infection on to the masses, as many will remember this evening for his appearance as much as for the big beats and techno staging that was brought by the equally impressive set of headliner Bassnectar.

Ali, the MC for the people, gave his all…and then some!


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