Brother Ali, live at Asylum, November 10, 2009
Even if you've seen Brother Ali before, you have not seen the show that he played last week. Perhaps he is a changed man from all his far-reaching acclaim. (NPR's All Things Considered told listeners that if they were to see one rap show this year, Brother Ali's is it.) Or maybe Ali has grown and changed — he is, after all, still absorbing the fact that he was raised on Public Enemy and now has Chuck D as an outspoken fan.
It is all reflected in his stage show, which he undertook while wearing a shirt promoting his new album, Us, with the message "There's no me and no you. It's just us." He is clear that he is a man for peace, a husband, a proud father, and a believer in the need for more love in the world. It's a great stance for someone of his stature in the hip-hop world and a positive change from the more-reserved Ali of past shows.
The Asylum never sounded better. The big production of songs like "Take Me Home" reverberated off the large crowd and filled the room proper. Video projections behind DJ BK-One made for an even richer experience. One video in particular with Ali, his wife, friends, and children holding handwritten signs with messages on the front like, "I have crooked teeth" and contrasting phrases on the back such as, "But my smile fills a room" reinforced the rapper's new outlook.
He even stopped a song short to put an end to a disagreement in the crowd and calm the two gentlemen involved. Peace in action.
: New England Music News
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