Following his first trip to Mecca and witnessing the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East, among other things, underground rap vet Brother Ali returned to the U.S. recharged and inspired. The result of that experience is his upcoming fourth studio LP, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, which is slated to drop in late August.
According to his camp, the project was created during a self-imposed, two-month exile in Seattle and is helmed by producer Jake One (50 Cent, T.I., Wiz Khalifa). It’s touted as a “scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities.”
So far, Ali has released free MP3s and accompanying music videos for album cuts/singles such as “Shine On,” “Writer’s Block,” and “Not A Day Goes By,” offering just a taste of the “pièce de résistance.”
Mourning is 14 tracks long, including assists from esteemed author/ professor Dr. Cornel West, revered southern hip-hop icon Bun B, and Def Poetry Jam poet Amir Sulaiman.
In a moment of artistic preemptive strike, Brother Ali recognized an opportunity to examine and address the underpinnings of the burgeoning stance of mass opposition.
“This is not just a new album, but a new chapter,” said the rapper. “There’s a kind of democratic reawakening in people at this point in time. I was really looking to take these topics and really hit them hard. To try to open ears and hearts and invite people to take some action and feel empowered. To be engaged and take some agency and responsibility for what’s going on in the world.”
Melding the zeitgeist of classic works such as Ice Cube’s critical 1991 album Death Certificate and Marvin Gaye’s 1971 sociopolitical opus What’s Goin’ On with his keen observations on topics such as race, the Occupy movement, and the hypocrisy of war, Brother Ali has crafted a fresh lyrical approach and dynamic new sound — the result is a stunning collection of hard-hitting lyrics and beats.
Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color drops August 21, via Rhymesayers Entertainment.
Listen to the single “Stop The Press” below: