THE MAN IS ABOUT HIS FAMILY, POLITICKING ON A GLOBAL SCALE, PUTTING OUT GOOD HIP-HOP, BUT MOST OF ALL BROTHER ALI NEWMAN IS ABOUT TRUTH. ROUNDING OFF HIS US TOUR, NEWMAN RAPS WITH RIP NICHOLSON ON HALLOWEEN – NO TRICKS OR TREATS.
BROTHER ALI interviewed @ 08.30 AEST – Wednesday 31st October, 2012
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Images courtesy of Nate Ryan
I’m the truth. I don’t got no tricks involved at all. Treats are tricks. Pop music is a treat. The job of pop artists is to observe what you want, whether it’s good or not. Whatever’s the popular thing, even if it’s something bad for you, as long as you respond. What I do is neither of that. I provide the truth.
“Most people have lost that kind of moral responsibility to say and do what’s right. They tell a truth that doesn’t challenge anybody. They tell a part of the truth that makes them safe because it doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. Because in our society, we’re not very good at dealing with problems that we don’t like to hear about ourselves in particular. So we stay away from things that are dangerous because it turns people against us and challenges people too much. They don’t like that and turn against you. And that is bad for your career.”
“I didn’t start rapping to say something; I started rapping because I have to rap.”
Brother Ali Newman’s lyrics are highly potent on politics and he has never shied away from expressing his disdain of his US homeland and the part it plays in world domination. His fifth and latest album, Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color, was released last month and speaks on several home truths, scaring those who dare to ignore. “[The LP] talks about the accurate, honest and mature look in the mirror we need to take and the state of mourning that we’re in and the mourning that we’re caught in,” declares Newman. “From the point of how we imagine our society to be, where everybody is acknowledged, everybody is protected, everybody is welcome – where everybody can contribute. So it’s an inventory of who we are and what we have in common and a sense of what we’ve always been. It’s also a challenge of who we can be and who we should be and who we’ve told ourselves that we are.”
Newman’s been out of the game for a minute, taking time to reconnect with all that’s most important in his life, making the pilgrimage to Mecca as a devout Muslim. He feels his latest album shows real growth, by making powerful choices with his carefully chosen words. “I’ve said more with less words. I think I’m a lot more focused, more dedicated and [there’s] a definite growth in my writing and presentation in what I’m doing.”
The hiatus has allowed him to re-enter at a timely moment of reawakening within people. “The democratic awakening I am talking about is in activism; people getting together to demand that human dignity be respected and to have a right to live free. I think in the world, especially our Western societies, we see things very shallow. We do that because we’re trying to protect ourselves. We’ve caused a lot of suffering and we continue to cause a lot of suffering in order to have an unfair advantage in the world. We walk into someone’s home and perform genocide on their land, colonise them and put them into situations of racial and class systems.”
Before making his scheduled dates in Australia, Newman assures fans of one thing; “First of all I’m gonna do a good job. And my job is to do a show, without preaching. I didn’t start rapping to say something; I started rapping because I have to rap. I started making music to make music. And people listen because I’ve earned that relationship. I wanna share what I know with people I know haven’t had access to that yet.”