Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color
As far as substance-driven music, you’re going to hear a lot on the internet about the latest release from Lupe Fiasco, as his sequel to the original Food And Liquor has dropped for mass consumption, and although that album is solid in its own right, it’s still a shame that it’s release may possibly overshadow this gem from Brother Ali. Teaming with super-producer Jake One for the entire project, Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color is simultaneously an honest look at the issues within America (and ourselves), but Brother Ali somehow finds a way to present the project in an overall positive light.
With Jake One handling all of the production, there are absolutely no worries about how Mourning sounds sonically. The production is diverse, but keeps its Hip-Hop flavor due to the heavy bass lines and clever sample usage. It’s essentially all on Ali to hold interest with his rhymes and content, and he does that with flying colors. From the Dr. Cornel West feature on the intro (“Letter To My Countrymen”), to his personal struggles with quitting music and losing friends and family in “Stop The Press,” to addressing the cyclical work grind and other issues in “Work Everyday,” it all flows together quite well.
Some of the highlights on the project are just the clever and passionate way he approaches concepts. “Need A Knot” has a Bun B sample and approaches the subject of getting money from a completely different angle; after listening to each entertaining verse you’ll realize there’s a little more in common with the normal quick-cash jobs and the underside of street economics. “Say Amen” has Ali completely spazzing out and just has to be heard. As a direct contrast, the songs when he opens up about himself are also incredible, as he talks about the moment he knew he was getting a divorce in “All You Need,” which stems directly from the lack of attention and care given to his son by his ex-wife.
Hitting on several topics that most can relate to, Brother Ali’s latest project is incredibly well-rounded. Backed by Jake One, Ali holds no punches on his critiques, but yet has a way to present his views without sounding conceited or even as a know-it-all. Maybe that’s due to his Islamic faith, or maybe it’s due to the fact he was raised around Black people and just knows how to relate to both sides better, it’s impossible to be certain. Regardless, it’s funny how the Rhymesayer that’s legally blind has a better insight on life than almost all of the rappers out right now, and I personally can’t get enough of the irony.
Album Stream: Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color
“Only Life I Know”
“Mourning In America”