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Brother Ali, Fringe Character, Lucien Parker (free)

  • 100 block of King Street 100 King Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Photo by Colleen Eversman.

Photo by Colleen Eversman.

It’s a testament to Brother Ali’s character and focus as a rapper that what he says and does onstage and off frequently merits media coverage for the right, or at least positive, reasons. The Madison-born, Twin Cities-based rapper was arrested in summer 2012 along with other protesters in Twin Cities, attempting to prevent and block the eviction of a family. Similarly, social justice and privilege have been frequent topics in his career, starting with his debut album Rites Of Passage in 2000. On Ali’s latest, All The Beauty In This Whole Life, he rekindles his long-running collaboration with Atmosphere producer Ant, and the result is a record that is intensely introspective, trying to find the silver lining in the seeming dystopia we have been thrust into today. It’s sigh-inducingly clichéd to mention that Ali is an albino Muslim in a show preview, though these factors are central on “Before They Called You White” and “Uncle Usi Taught Me,” which respectively ruminate on concepts of whiteness in America and xenophobia in the TSA. Ali’s ability to pack heavy and discouraging subject matter in funky, barebones production has always made for approachable and even fun listens. On All The Beauty, as always, he makes an effort to give you even more to think about and question. This free Live On King Street show also features two solid openers in Madison hip-hop band Fringe Character and Minneapolis MC Lucien Parker. —David Wolinsky

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