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The cover art of Brother Ali’s Mourning In America, Dreaming In Color is designed to draw a strong reaction. Some might find it entirely disrespectful, as there’s an unwritten law suggesting that the American flag should never be laid on the ground. Some might find it even more disrespectful that Ali, an American Muslim, is praying on top of it. But judging a book by it’s cover would definitely be a fault in this case, as Ali’s intentions are pure. Yes, this album cover shocks and gets your attention, but after listening to the LP, one begins to understand Brother Ali’s point of view.

Just as the president has had to dodge attacks of being a “secret Muslim” or someone who “hates America”, Brother Ali has most likely felt the same way at times in his career. From a man who once wrote “Uncle Sam, Goddamn”, he’s realized he loves his homeland, as referenced on the first track, “Letter To My Countrymen”, where he opens the album with “I used to think I hated this place / couldn’t wait to tell the prez straight to his face / but lately I changed, nowadays I embrace it all / beautiful ideals and amazing flaws.” This is what that album cover is about.

In the wake of the Occupy movement, Ali’s perspective is similar to many Americans; they don’t hate this country, but are frustrated with the way things are. Ali uses MIADIC to get some things off of his chest, such as “Mourning In America” or “Gather Round” which deals with how poverty inspires terrorism or tracks like “Work Everyday” that examines the plight of the blue collar worker, questioning how they can side with rich politicians.

Ali’s moves his platform from political to personal on several tracks, unveiling the human behind the lyrical freedom fighter. “Stop The Press” is an amazingly bittersweet song about the last couple years of his personal life, detailing the deaths of both his father and Eyedea. Later on “All You Need”, Brother Ali tries to explain his divorce with his drug-addicted wife to his young son, in a tale that he might one day understand.

Backed by the production of Jake One, Jake has produced some of the best beats in his catalog here, with some of them so big and apocalyptic (“Mourning In America”, “Fajr”) that they sound like they were originally meant for Detox (an album in which Jake has had input on). Other times, Jake has simply chosen the right sample, and freaked it correctly (“All You Need”).

In either case, both artists are in top form here, and have possibly created the best work of their respective careers. Whereas something like Cruel Summer turns a blind eye to the problems in our country, pretending they aren’t there, Mourning In America, Dreaming In Color examines them in great detail, over Jake’s raw, musical backdrops. The seamless combination of substance heavy lyrics and sonically pleasing production makes this perhaps the most important hip-hop album of the year.

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16 Responses to "Brother Ali – “Mourning In America, Dreaming In Color” – @@@@1/2 (Review)"
  • Model Citizen says:

    Yeah, mChC is ignorant as hell. Keep in mind this is a guy who compared one of the tracks off of this album to a Black Eyed Peas song a few months back so you have to take everything he says with a grain of salt. Don’t waste your time trying to make sense of his bullshit or even responding to his comments, some people are just pieces of shit who should really be ignored. Arguing with him will just end in homophobic insults because he doesn’t have any legitimate points to make. He’s one of those “love it, or leave it” types that will never get it.

  • Model Citizen says:

    Oh, and this record is incredible by the way, every single line is poignant and Jake One’s production is crazy good. This is the best Ali record since “Shadows on the Sun.”

  • Dayz says:

    No comment on the ignorant statements but agreed with everyone else this LP is incredible. If you haven’t seen him live definitely go when he comes around your way. He is one of the best MCs live.

  • Mchc says:

    Model Citizen and Dayz…I missed you guys! Figured you guys would be along soon to hop on ali’s dick! Welcome back fellas. Look I get it, you guys share the same “blame society for my shortcomings and failures ” mentality as ali. That’s fine. But it’s not just me hurling criticism at this cowards album. Check other sites reviews wevare not accepting this cover and hostility towards the US. Furthermore, Content and style wise it’s a cliche, over done, and the same old song and dance. Creativity 0. Heard it all before. Bottom line ali karmas a bitch. Fat, blind, and albino is enough satisfaction for me.

  • 01101001 says:

    Born again Christian preachers from the suburbs Tryin to save souls on Broadway, they got some nerve Comin here unaware that the one’s with no material gifts Sometimes most spiritually rich Laziness got me spare the stand back and notice that That can’t hold me back, my man Vast told me that “Harlem got all that on a bigger scale” When there’s bullets in the sandboxes it’s every bit as real I see children growin up within a wicked system Smilin I wanna kiss ‘em, I see prophet Muhammad in ‘em

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