Alternative and rock style beats with thoughtful lyricism rapped to the rhythm are hard to find in today’s music industry. However, new rap artist Jason Newman, or Brother Ali, is stirring up a scene with this unique type of music. Ali is a legally blind, albino Muslim trying to use his words to deliver the bold message that labels come second, humanity comes first.
Ali grew up in Michigan for the first 15 years of his life before converting from Christianity to Islam. He felt it was easier to relate to the Muslim and black community rather than his own white community when dealing with his condition. Ali told the Washington Post that while growing up, white kids would make him “feel like not even a human being, not even a person.”
Ali found inspiration in Malcolm X and his teachings, which were the final influences in leading him to convert to Islam. He started frequently visiting a mosque in Minneapolis, where he met many other individuals who felt judged by their skin colors.
Brother Ali’s love for rapping and showcasing his abilities led him to meet many of his future friends, most of them black. The combination of Islam and his rapping skill helped him create an outlet for all the anger he felt, and his music is now pulling in a growing audience.
In 2003, Brother Ali released his first album, “Shadows on the Sun.” However, it wasn’t until his album “The Undisputed Truth” came out in 2007 that he caught the attention of the mainstream audience. He was featured on both the “David Letterman Show” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” where he performed songs from this album.
Ali focuses on his lyricism more than anything, using intricate rhyming schemes and tricky wordplay to get his message across. His songs are mainly about the struggles he has faced through life and the subsequent consequences.
“The music and the sound of my voice and the way I’m describing the situations and emotions involved should make you feel like you’re in my shoes at that moment,” Ali told “Rhymesayers Entertainment.“
Unlike most of today’s rap and hip-hop songs, Ali’s beats and background music aren’t quite as upbeat. His beats are much more melodious. For example, one of his hit singles “Take Me Home” sounds like the Dave Matthews band playing in the background with Ali’s voice rapping over.
Brother Ali brings a new taste to the rapping scene with his unique background and his prominent rhyming talent. “Take Me Home,” “Walking Away” and “Uncle Sam Goddamn” are three of his most popular songs. Even those who don’t like rap music may appreciate his lyrics and the way he delivers his message within his songs.