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Brother Ali's first album in five years looks to be a 'Beauty'

Brother Ali stepped back to the stage in 2015 for the Rhymesayers 20 concert at Target Center. / Leslie Plesser for Star Tribune

Brother Ali stepped back onto the stage in December 2015 for the Rhymesayers 20 concert at Target Center. / Leslie Plesser for Star Tribune

While Twin Cities hip-hop fans are impatiently awaiting tomorrow's lineup announcement for this year’s Soundset festival, Rhymesayers Entertainment did surprise them with some other big news this morning: Brother Ali will drop a new album a few weeks ahead of the big bash, titled “All the Beauty in This Whole Life.” Details of the record and the first track debuted via

Due May 5, the 15-track collection was produced entirely by Ant of Atmosphere and is Ali’s first full-length release in five years, going back to “Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color.” He went on something of a sabbatical in recent years, though he has been getting back in the performance ring of late, once again serving as Atmosphere’s opening act. It looks as if the songs on the record will explain the personal and spiritual journey he went on in that time.

Among the tracks we already know is “Dear Black Son,” which addresses police brutality and stunned the crowd when he debuted as a spoken-word piece at the Rhymesayers 20 concert in December 2015. More than political, though, it sounds as if this record will be hopeful and inward-looking, as evidenced by the first single, “Own Light (What Hearts Are For),” which is posted below along with a promo video for the record and another vide for the song "Pen to Paper."

“This entire album is based on the reality that beauty is the splendor of truth," Ali said in a press release from Rhymesayers. "Beauty in all of its forms is the outward manifestation of love and virtue. It soothes the soul and pulls it gently toward the truth it communicates. Every word and note of this album is intended to either reflect beauty, or expose the ugliness that blocks us from living lives of meaning."

Pre-orders for the album are now being taken via

Will Oscar envelope boo boo overshadow 'Moonlight' win?



Steve Harvey must be exhaling a huge sigh of relief.

The Mistake Read Around the World -- in which Warren Beatty apparently got the wrong envelope that revealed Oscar's best picture -- is sure to go down as one of biggest blunders in Hollywood history, overshadowing any missteps taken at any trivial beauty pageant.

Let's just hope the moment -- unfortunate and hilarious at the same time -- doesn't overshadow "Moonlight's" accomplishments. The upset over heavy favorite "La La Land" -- the biggest since "Crash" stunned "Brokeback Mountain" fans in 2006 -- has elevated Barry Jenkins to the A-list, if he wasn't there already, and proves that an Oscar winner can be about African Americans without a storyline that revolves around slavery or civil-rights history. The worst thing that could happen is that people play the moment over and over again on YouTube instead of rushing out to see the film in theaters.

And to think: I was about to say that seeing Faye Dunaway and Beatty walk out to together was one of the evening's sweetest moments. That memory is already tainted, athough I'll bet Bonnie and Clyde would have loved it.

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