Music journalists won’t have to ask Brother Ali too many hard questions when his new album, “Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color,” arrives on Aug. 21. He pretty well covers all the ins and outs of his life in vivid detail in “Stop the Press,” the first track off the album to see daylight. Posted below, it was released today along with the record’s equally evocative cover art.
Among the topics addressed in the new song: The departure of his former DJ, BK-One; the relatively tepid response to his last record, “Us;” the suicide of his father; the accidental overdose death of his close friend Mikey “Eyedea” Larsen, and his own struggles to make his career, family life and especially marriage work. Geez, what’s left for the rest of the record?
A lot, apparently. The rather grandiosely worded press release for the album says it “asserts itself as the definitive soundtrack of a disenchanted, disenfranchised and wildly optimistic citizenry during a landmark period in American history.” That album cover, which shows the Muslim rapper praying over the American flag, also hints at its dramatic themes.
We’ve already reported that Jake One replaced Ant as Ali’s go-to producer/beatmaker for the record. His list of guests this time is also quite a change-up, including African American studies author and Princeton professor Cornel West, Texan hip-hop veteran Bun B (also now a college lecturer) and Def Poetry Jam star Amir Sulaiman. Other song titles include “Letter to My Countrymen,” “Gather Round,” “Only Life I Know” and Namesake,” the latter of which is about Muhammad Ali. “Stop the Press,” it seems, might get the personal topics out of the way for Ali to tackle bigger issues.
Pre-orders for “Mourning in America” are now being offered with various packaging options.