Brother Ali

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Brother Ali
Brother Ali.jpeg
Brother Ali performing at SoundFest, June 11, 2011
Background information
Birth name Jason Newman
Born (1977-07-30) July 30, 1977 (age 37)
Origin Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, producer
Years active 1998–present
Labels Rhymesayers Entertainment/Warner Music Group

Ali Newman (born Jason Newman, July 30, 1977), better known by his stage name Brother Ali, is an American hip hop recording artist signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Brother Ali was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and spent his early childhood moving from city to city in the Midwest (mostly in Michigan). Ali's family settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1992. He attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota. He converted to Islam at age 15 and followed Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. During this time, Ali was selected to join a group of students who went to visit Malaysia to study a way that a more liberal Islamic society could have a peaceful coexistence between different religions.[2]

He has a son, Faheem, from his first marriage, and remarried in 2008.[citation needed] The song "Real as Can Be" off his EP The Truth Is Here says he also has a daughter on the way. In the song "Fresh Air" on his September 2009 album Us, he goes on to say "Just got married last year/ treated so good that it ain't even fair/ already got a boy now the baby girl's here/ Bought us a house like the Berenstain Bears."[citation needed]

Ali was born with the rare genetic condition of albinism, a disorder characterized by a lack of pigment in skin, eyes, and hair. Brother Ali often makes fun of the media's constant urge to mention his condition in the first lines of their reviews or newspaper articles. He is also legally blind which is caused by his albinism.[3]

While Brother Ali's family is white, he has often described a childhood marked by cruelty and exclusion by his white classmates as a result of his physical abnormality. He has often explained that, from an early age, he felt "most at home amongst African Americans."[4]



On August 13, 2007, Brother Ali appeared on The Late Late Show and performed his single "Uncle Sam Goddamn" from The Undisputed Truth. On October 19, 2007, Ali appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and performed "Take Me Home" from The Undisputed Truth.[5] On December 16, 2009 Ali appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and was featured with late night band The Roots. ...


On July 24, 2013, Brother Ali appeared on the Maximum Fun podcast Judge John Hodgman as an "Expert Witness".[6]


Brother Ali has said many times in interviews that he finds much of his inspiration in the late 1980s rappers of the golden age of hip hop, especially KRS-One and Rakim. In the track "Get Up Stand Up" by Public Enemy, in which Brother Ali features, he says 'I was raised by the Enemy, and ever since then that's been my identity', suggesting that he also sees Public Enemy as an inspiration.[7][8]


Main article: Uncle Sam Goddamn

Brother Ali has been under pressure from the recording industry due to lyrics from his song "Uncle Sam Goddamn", claiming creative interference from "somebody I don't wanna name, but some of you probably has their cell phones." The unnamed corporation ultimately withdrew its sponsorship of Ali, causing him to truncate parts of his 2007 tour.[9][10] Furthermore, on the song "Second Time Around" with Benzi and Wale, Ali makes references to being kicked off a tour followed by the line "Verizon dissed me too, cuz I was too political." The song is notably critical of the United States government, with accusations that the political system is addicted to war.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions[11][12]
US US R&B US Rap US Indie
2000 Rites of Passage
2003 Shadows on the Sun
  • Released: May 2, 2003
  • Label: Rhymesayers
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
2007 The Undisputed Truth
  • Released: April 10, 2007
  • Label: Rhymesayers, Warner Music Group
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
69 48 6
2009 Us
  • Released: September 22, 2009
  • Label: Rhymesayers, Warner Music Group
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
56 29 14 6
2012 Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color
  • Released: September 18, 2012
  • Label: Rhymesayers, Warner Music Group
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
44 6 5 10
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Album Peak chart positions[11][12]
US US R&B US Indie
2004 Champion EP
  • Released: May 11, 2004
  • Label: Rhymesayers
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
2009 The Truth Is Here
  • Released: March 12, 2009
  • Label: Rhymesayers, Warner Music Group
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
119 69 18
2012 The Bite Marked Heart
  • Released: February 13, 2012
  • Label: Rhymesayers
  • Format: Free Digital Download
2013 Left in the Deck
  • Released: September 5, 2013
  • Label: Rhymesayers
  • Format: Free Digital Download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"What Time Is It?" 2001 Musab Respect the Life
"Cats Van Bags" 2003 Atmosphere Seven's Travels
"Rain Water" 2005 N/A You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having Bonus disc
"The Truth" 2008 Jake One, Freeway White Van Music
"So Wrong" 2010 Joell Ortiz, Talib Kweli, Jean Grae Me, Myself & I (Part Two)
"Damn Right" 2011 Statik Selektah, Joell Ortiz Population Control
"Get Up Stand Up" 2012 Public Enemy Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp
"The Dangerous Three" 2013 R.A. the Rugged Man, Masta Ace Legends Never Die


  1. ^ "Brother Ali". Rhymesayers Entertainment. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Neda Ulaby, Brother Ali: An Honest Act Of Worship, NPR, October 05, 2009, accessed April 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Ulaby, Neda (October 5, 2009). "Brother Ali: An Honest Act Of Worship". NPR. Archived from the original on February 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". 
  6. ^ MaxFun Intern (24 July 2013). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 120: Halal In The Family". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  7. ^ Rhymesayers Entertainment. "Brother Ali Biography". Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  8. ^ Brother Ali on Myspace
  9. ^ Nuntida. Brother Ali interview with Barber Shop Hip Hop. YouTube. 
  10. ^ Brother Ali. Truth Is - Live in Portland. YouTube. 
  11. ^ a b "Brother Ali: Chart History". Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Brother Ali: Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]