Minneapolis rapper Brother Ali detailed his first album in five years, All the Beauty in This Whole Life, out May 5th via Rhymesayers Entertainment. The rapper previewed the 15-track set with the soulful “Own Light (What Hearts Are For),” on which he seemingly addresses his long absence: “I ain’t tryin’ a hide away,” he raps in his distinctive, vibrato-heavy flow. “I just had to meditate.”
Over lightly psychedelic electric guitar and keys, Ali shouts out his namesake (“I got that Muhammad Ali up in my pedigree”), delivers a message to the police (“You’re not using your heart for what hearts are for”) and reflects back on tougher times (“I remember being hungry, needing groceries/ Night time, getting no sleep ’til my nose bleeds”).
Atmosphere producer Ant, a fellow member of the Rhymesayers Collective, produced the entirety of All the Beauty. In a statement about the project, Brother Ali said the album offers a fresh perspective after learning life lessons, reflecting the “pain, growth and eventual healing” he’s experienced.
“Articulating the pain and navigating the healing allows the people who really feel my music to travel with me,” he explained. “It’s not only that we hurt together, we heal together as well.”
Throughout the LP, the rapper explores subjects like his struggles with albinism (“Pray For Me”), the suicides of his father and grandfather (“Out of Here”), police brutality (“Dear Black Son”) and his Muslim faith (“Pen to Paper,” released earlier this week). But Ali’s main focus, he added, was to craft an album “based on the reality that beauty is the splendor of truth. Every word and note of this album is intended to either reflect beauty, or expose the ugliness that blocks us from living lives of meaning.”
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The album arrives five years after 2012’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. The rapper announced the album via a teaser video further explaining the LP.
Brother Ali – All the Beauty in This Whole Life Track List
1. “Pen to Paper” (featuring Amir Sulaiman)
2. “Own Light” (What Hearts Are For)”
3. “Special Effects” (featuring DeM Atlas)
4. “Can’t Take That Away”
5. “Dear Black Son”
6. “We Got This” (featuring Sa Roc)
7. “Uncle Usi Taught Me”
8. “Pray For Me”
9. “It Ain’t Easy”
10. “Never Learn”
12. “Before They Called You White”
13. “The Bitten Apple” (featuring Idris Phillips)
14. “Out of Here”
15. “All the Beauty in This Whole Life”