Brother Ali's album
Album reviews
Brother Ali
All The Beauty In This Whole Life
Release year:
25 May 2017 / by Sanjeev Wignarajah (author)

Brother Ali released his sixth album All The Beauty In This Whole Life on May 5, 2017 - five years after 2012's Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. The album features Amir Sulaiman, Dem Atlas, Idris Phillips and Sa-Roc. The album is a personal one as it deals with relationships and personal stories.

The first track on the album is "Pen to Paper," featuring Amir Sulaiman. It starts off with a beautiful poem from Sulaiman personifying a humanized monster. The track later tells the story of Brother Ali’s life from getting into the hip-hop scene to his personal life. He gives a shout-out to KRS-One, a New York based hip-hop artist in the ‘80s, who gave an autobiography of Malcolm X at the age of 13. What’s unique about the track is that it comprises piano notes, record scratches and drum beats.

Another track from All The Beauty In This Whole Life is "Special Effects" featuring Dem Atlas. When you hear the word "special effects," you often think of blockbuster movies and Hollywood. Flip the script and the song is about what’s reel vs. real. The song deals with human interaction as the artist prefers to get to know the person face-to-face rather than seeing an individual on screen. Ali goes on to say that the individual shouldn’t change for fame and what’s trending now; rather that individual should stay original and true to one’s self. The track features the vocal backings of Dem Atlas who drives the message and hits you like a grounded, realistic film.

Other tracks in the album include "We Got This" featuring Sa-Roc, a song about the journey to stardom and the path taken. "Dear Black Son" deals with the father/son dynamic growing up in a rough environment. Lastly, "Own Light (What Hearts Are For)" is a track about Brother Ali’s redemption from the streets to where he is now.

Those who are looking for new hip-hop with an old school feel and excellent storytelling shall look no further. The album is what hip-hop fanatics really want to hear and it’s definitely worth picking up in stores and online. 

You can see Brother Ali performs in Toronto on June 7 as part of the Own Light tour featuring Sa-Roc, Last Word and Sol-Messiah at Adelaide Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at 

The author

Sanjeev Wignarajah

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