Friday, October 16, 2009

Interview: Brother Ali (transcript)

Brother Ali performs tonight at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Below is a transcript of his interview with “The Beat” :

On working with Atmosphere producer Ant on all of the Brother Ali projects:

I've had Ant for the albums and the EP's. I did a mixtape and had some other people contribute to those. I've done some guest appearances with other people. But all the Brother Ali projects are produced entirely by Ant.

I think that our friendship is so powerful and important to both of us that when we get together to make music, we start out. .. We both tour. He tours with Atmosphere, I do my tour, so when we see each other, we catch up. We talk about this is what's going on in my life, what I'm going through, what I'm celebrating, what I'm suffering through. Those conversations bleed right over into the music. I don't know if I'd be able to make music as powerfully as I do without Ant. (More after the jump)

On the “Fresh Air” tour that he is currently on:

It's really incredible so far. The energy of the shows has been amazing. A lot of the shows have been sold out. I got a really amazing team with me. We put together this whole night. I choose my people who I bring out with me. I really try to give people an experience, so I choose the people that are going to be on my team.

I got Toki Wright, he's a part of Rhyme Sayers. He used to help me on stage, with my background bovals. Now he's setepped on his own. I've got Evidence, who did a lot of legendary work with Dialated Peoples, he's with us. And BK-One is releasing his solo album.
It's a lot of new, creative energy. It's called the Fresh Air tour because we all got new material and we're starting with something fresh. It's really amazing.

On the tour's name:

That's the name of a song on my new album. It's such a celebratory thing, because there's so much fresh air. It's like a new beginning. It's a new beginning for me, making this new album. Everyone on this tour has brand new work they're presenting. It's just exciting new energy.

On former Roc-A-Fella Records MC Freeway joining RhymeSayers artist roster:

Rhyme Sayers, we're old school hip-hop people. We've always embraced hip-hop in it's totality. We love the artistry of it. We love the raw truth in it. To have Freeway is somebody I've been a fan of since he first came in the game. Me and him started putting records out at the same time, in 2003

He's in a unique situation where major labels once had a place for street music, but now if you don't have a single for 14 year old girls, you don't have a place in mainstream.

It felt like the best thing for him to do would be go the indie route. He still has a loyal fan base, but he was trying to go the indie route. That's what we specialize in. We've been perfecting that over the years. Music is music, hip-hop is hip-hop, and he's an incredible MC. I'm proud to be associated with him in any way. We're becoming friends. It's a great thing.

On visiting Santa Cruz:

I just love it out there. I've always loved Santa Cruz, since the first time playing there. I played there with Atmosphere back in 2002. I've always loved it.

Santa Cruz is a place where I've been able to play with bigger headliners and been able to steal the show and it makes me feel a special way about the people there.

My wife and I went on vacation in the Bay. We took a day to go down to Santa Cruz, that's how great I feel about it. I don't go out there to do shows and work. I've spent time on vacation out there.

His message to fans coming to the show:

Just come out, hang out with us. Come early. There's no openers on this tour. Everyone performing on this show is part of the show, so you're missing an important part of what we're presenting to you if you come late. Come early, everybody brought CD's and shirts to sell to the fans. Come prepared to be a part of it. Don't come to just watch. Come to be part of it. Get dressed up, bring a lady firend with you. Come to dance and come prepared to have an experience.

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