Words and Photos by Cheats – Brother Ali at The Broadberry
No matter what higher power you believe in, if you believe in a higher power, there is an understanding that the Most High leads you to the places that you are destined to be. I believe that there is a reason and a purpose for where I am placed at the times that I’m placed there. Last night was a prime example of that divine guidance because on a night when Young Jeezy was performing a sold out show at The National and apparently Bobby Shmurda was doing his Shmoney dance at the Mirage Complex (Paradise Lounge), something in my spirit lead me to The Broadberry for Home Away from Home Tour featuring Brother Ali, Bambu, DJ Last Word, Malley, and opening was the family from Gritty City Records.
Headlined by the Rhymesayers veteran, a small to medium size crowd of hip hop purest came out to hear Brother Ali deliver his message through soulful hooks and truthful lyrics. Dressed in a black button up and sporting a distinctive black kufi, Ali performed hits that spanned his 12 year professional career, though he’s quick to tell you that he’s been rhyming since he was seven years old, that’s 30 years for those who are counting. Equally as important as the hits he performed like, “Take Me Home”, “Work Everyday”, “Good Lord” and “Only Life I Know”, was the blessing he presented to the audience with his words and spirit.
Standing in front of the enthusiastic crowd, between songs, Ali would say, “If you came here to party say, Yes I did” and employ the crowd to repeatedly shout, “Love.” He made sure that the audience understood that we as a community have a duty to do more, to organize, to improve our current situation. “We live in a white Supremacy culture, we live in a male dominated culture, we live in a money dominated culture, and we need to be aware of those things if we are going to be able to make meaningful changed for the better, ” Ali told the predominately white audience.
Though he doesn’t perform in Virginia often, this is only the second time that he could remember, Star Hill being the first, he sincerely explained why this particular tour was important to him, “Society is doing everything they can to divide us, to separate that human connection that brings people together, that’s why it’s important that we do shows because it brings people together…you can edit your text or your email, you can’t edit that face to face interaction, there is honesty and truth in it.”
He went on to apply heavy praise on his tour mates Bambu and Mally, and implored the crowd to check the music of Jamla Records Rapasody, who he thinks is the most talented artist in the hip hop right now. And massive praise on one of the most underrated VA producers Nottz, from Norfolk, who I believe is now officially in the Jamla Records fold.
After the show, Brother Ali hugged and greeted fans asking them their names and thanking them for supporting the show. While I have absolutely nothing against Jeezy, to be honest, I enjoy Jeezy as a person even more than the massive amount of hits he has, I’m so glad that the Most High led me to check out Brother Ali in person. It’s my hope that the spirit that guided him to come to Richmond, brings him back in 2015 and he continues to use his voice to bring awareness issues that main stream hip hop do not address in masses.
While you’re at it check out the work of Bambu, Mally, and of course home town Gritty City Records. Shout out to The Broadberry, Slapdash, and everyone that made it out to see the show. #WESEEIT