Brother Ali Talks ‘Mourning in America’, Working with Jake One
In a recent interview with HipHopDX, Rhymesayers MC Brother Ali opened up about his working relationship with Seattle beatsmith Jake One, and explained their process and how it lead to the creation of their forthcoming album, Mourning In America and Dreaming in Color.
“I went out there [to Seattle] about three or four times and we had one particular trip out there where we had a weekend where we made like three or four songs that are on the album, Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color,” Brother Ali said in the interview. ”We were like, ‘Okay, this is the sound! This is the topic! This is the feel! Now we’re making the album! These are the songs that are gonna be the skeleton of the album.’”
He explained how the creative process was different from his previous albums, mostly because he was working on the album in Seattle, rather than his home in Minneapolis. He went so far as to rent an apartment in Seattle, taking up residence while he worked with Jake One. “Rhymesayers [Entertainment] flew me out to Seattle and got me an apartment. You know, Rhymesayers are spending thousands of dollars for me to be here,” he explained, saying that it put more pressure on him to work on music continuously — even if the tracks that he created didn’t end up the way he wanted.
“I can’t just wait until the perfect song is in my head like I normally do. But, I can write a song. It might not be the song that I have in mind but I can write a song right now and I can feel like I’m doing something,” explained the “Chain Link” rapper, saying that such tracks made up the majority of the Bite Marked Heart EP that he dropped for free back in February. “That’s where a lot of these things that we’ve been leaking come from.”
Ali also discussed the differences in transitioning from working with Ant — of Atmosphere — who has produced all of his previous records, to having an album produced entirely by Jake One. For his part, Ali said that Jake One offered a more technical and sound-driven approach, whereas Ant’s focus was generally on the overall feel, or emotion, of the track as a whole.
“Jake [One, who produced this album] is really big on cadence. Ant is all about mood,” he explained. “Jake is all about flow. I’ll send him a song and he’ll send me back specifically, ‘At 1:29, you get off a little bit. At 2:04, you get off a little bit. You got too many words, fix that.’ He’s a very specific technician with that stuff, so it’s dope. It’s really good.”
Brother Ali spoke on a number of other topics in the interview, including social justice, political activism, his family, and remembering label-mate, Eyedea.
Brother Ali’s album, Mourning In America and Dreaming in Color, produced by Jake One, is due out on Rhymesayers Entertainment on August 13.
Watch the video for “Not a Day Goes By”, released today, below.
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