Let’s start with the positives. Brother Ali is a great conscious rapper who has been at it for years. He always deserves our respect and at the very least a chance when he drops new music. “Own Light” is an uplifting song with a positive message. There has never been enough of these songs in hip-hop. They have always been there, but they’ve usually been overshadowed by less thoughtful material. To wit: Lil Wayne and Tyga have a song called “Act Ghetto” that has more views on YouTube than “Own Light” and it has been out for 24 hours less than Ali’s new song. Also, “Act Ghetto” isn’t even a video; it’s just audio.
So anyway, we should support thoughtful hip-hop. I really want to support thoughtful hip-hop, but it’s difficult when I watch the video of this song and all I can think is that it looks like a mashup of Insane Clown Posse’s “Miracles” and the movie “Koyaanisqatsi.” Obviously Brother Ali is way more talented than those Clowns (Ha!), but this video has a new-age-y quality to it that is less than desirable (Not hating on the Qatsi trilogy. Watch it.). I still like it more than “Act Ghetto” which is why I’ve refused to post a link to that video (Resist!). Additionally, “Own Light” is great and uplifting. Maybe just skip the video.
Brother Ali’s new album is titled “All The Beauty In This Whole Life.” It will be available on May 5.