Brother Ali is on the road as part of “War & Peace,” a tour that also features Immortal Technique, Diabolic, I Self Devine, DJ GI Joe and Poison Pen.
Recently, Ali spoke with HipHopDX about the significance of the tour, which is set to conclude October 5 in New York, and why it was important to go on this run with Immortal Technique.
“Me and Immortal Technique kind of started our careers [together] in a way,” Ali said in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “We both did a lot of work on our own just getting to the point where we were ready to go on the road and start building a national fanbase. In 2004, one of the first times that I ever headlined on a tour, it was on the West Coast and [Immortal Technique] was the support on that tour. We were in similar stages. I had just put out Shadows on the Sun. He had just put out Revolutionary Vol. 1. I got an earlier chance to tour because Atmosphere took me out. He had done some stuff here and there with the Uncle Howie guys and stuff, but that was his first time really touring.
“And then, the first time that I ever played and sold out First Avenue, which is a big milestone in the Twin Cities, that was the club where they shot Purple Rain, the first time that I ever did that, Technique came out and played that show with me,” Ali continued. “So, we really kind of started together and just remained good friends so it’s cool for us, after all these years, to be getting back together, touring together. It’s dope.”
The tour, which is scheduled to stop in Madison, Wisconsin’s Barrymore Theatre tonight (September 21), was designed to coincide with Rock the Bells because Ali and Technique were both on the bill. Using all four Rock the Bells locations as a guide, Tech and Ali mapped out an itinerary for their tour.
“We’ve been talking about it forever,” Ali, who recently released his free Left in the Deck project, said. “It kind of made sense. Both of us are on Rock the Bells. Once we realized that, we figured it would be a perfect opportunity to route a tour around Rock the Bells. So, there’s a lot of places we didn’t get to go on this tour just because we had to make the routing work so we can do all four Rock the Bells festivals.” Brother Ali On Public Enemy & dead prez Influences
For Ali and Technique, this tour is particularly significant because of the lyrical content both artists tend to focus on.
“Part of why it’s so important for us to do this tour was for us to really put a flag on the touring scene for artists who have a message in their music,” Brother Ali said. “Obviously Public Enemy is gonna be able to do what they need to do because they’re Public Enemy. But, in terms of artists who are still touring in clubs and still selling out shows and everything, this really is our way of solidifying and making a statement that music that has a message is still relevant and it’s still commercially viable. We can still be successful.
“Public Enemy did that for us and they made sure we saw that,” Ali continued. “And then dead prez came along and did the same thing and so many others. Now there are guys coming along like Bambu, people like Invincible in Detroit, Jasiri X, people that are just kind of starting their careers and we feel like it’s important for us to really make that statement for the people that are coming along now, not to buy into the idea that people don’t wanna hear that anymore, but that there is still a market across the country and really around the world of people who are thirsty for that, who will come out and support it with their whole being and with their money and everything. So, it’s really dope to be doing that tour for that reason too.”
The remaining tour dates for “War & Peace” can be found below.
9/21: Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre
9/22: Chicago, IL – Metro
9/24: Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall
9/25: Covington, KY – The Madison Theater
9/26: Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
9/27: Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
9/28: Washington D.C. – Rock The Bells
9/29: Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts
10/1: Boston, MA – The Paradise
10/2: New Haven, CT – Toad’s Place
10/3: Northampton, MA – Pearl Street
10/4: Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
10/5: New York, NY – Rock the Bells