Upcoming album 'Beauty' marks Brother Ali's return after a five-year hiatus

Brother Ali

Brother Ali Colleen Eversman

You hear a lot of songs about booty these days. Ready to listen to a few about beauty?

Fiery yet big-hearted MC and activist Brother Ali steps back in the rap ring on May 5 with All the Beauty in This Whole Life (Rhymesayers Entertainment). All 15 tracks were produced by that homegrown label’s preeminent beatmaker, Ant.

It's Ali's first album since Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color in 2012, and fans are surely curious to hear how the outspoken critic of white supremacy and militarized nationalism might respond to ... well, you know. But in the video teaser for the album, Ali is coy about how much he'll address current events, saying, “I started this album before some of the new changes in the world.”

We do have two new tracks that offer clues to what we're in for. On “Pen to Paper,” Ali glances back over his life, charting his growth as an MC and a man, recalling the instruction he received from KRS-One and how his song “Uncle Sam Goddam” lost him a Verizon sponsorship.

"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," Ali said in a statement released today, and you can certainly hear that sentiment reflected in the other new song floating around out there, "Own Light (What Hearts Are For)." 

"In times of great suffering in the outside world, the most important battles start from within," Ali's statement goes on to say. Are you ready for the fight?

Brother Ali – All the Beauty in This Whole Life track list
1. "Pen to Paper" (featuring Amir Sulaiman)
2. "Own Light" (What Hearts Are For)"
3. "Special Effects" (featuring DeM Atlas)
4. "Can't Take That Away"
5. "Dear Black Son"
6. "We Got This" (featuring Sa Roc)
7. "Uncle Usi Taught Me"
8. "Pray For Me"
9. "It Ain't Easy"
10. "Never Learn"
11. "Tremble"
12. "Before They Called You White”
13. "The Bitten Apple" (featuring Idris Phillips)
14. "Out of Here"
15. "All the Beauty in This Whole Life"