Approximately three years ago, Justin Timberlake attempted to surprise Brother Ali by joining him on stage during a concert in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Ali recently recalled this encounter.
“So I’m doing my set and then all of a sudden I’m hearing somebody beat-boxing, but it’s not really in line with the beat that I’m rapping to,” Ali said in a recent interview with NEHip-Hop.com. “So I’m rappin’ to one beat and somebody else is beatboxing and it keeps throwin’ me off.”
Eventually, Ali checked to see who the person beat-boxing was.
“I turn around and I realize there’s a guy,” Ali said. “He’s just dressed so normal…I’m like, ‘Who is this dude on stage beat-boxing on my set?’ Because it was real loose. There was a whole bunch of people all over the place. It wasn’t real great security. It’s a tiny little club. So I grabbed the mic out of his hands and I was like ‘Get off the stage, man. You can’t just come on. Get off the stage.’
“Also, part of being Albino is I’m legally blind,” Ali added. “So I can’t see that it was [Justin]. So I go to my deejay, and I’m like, ‘Why did you let that guy on stage?’ and he goes, ‘That was Justin.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean? I don’t know a Justin.’ He goes, ‘That was Justin Timberlake, and you just kicked him off stage.'”
When Ali discovered this, he went to find Timberlake. “I’m honored,” Ali said he told Timberlake. “Would you please come back on?”
“He came back on,” Ali said. “I freestyled poorly, because the whole time I’m thinkin’ of what to say, because I do like his music a lot, kinda. So I’m thinkin’ of all these references and stuff, but the fact that I just told him to leave the stage and then also the freestyle nature of it, everything that I could think, I’m like, ‘If I drop this line, it’s gonna sound like a diss.'”
Ali tweeted about this in 2010 from a Twitter account that has since been changed and protected.
“Last night in Jackson Hole WY was fun,” Ali wrote via Twitter. “This dude jumped on stage and started beatboxing. Me being me, I snatched the mic from him and he got off stage. At the end of the song, [DJ BK-One] tells me that was Justin Timberlake…I ran and grabbed him and he beat-boxed while I freestyled for about 15 minutes. Sorry JT. Thanks for rockin with us.”
Ali also spoke with HipHopDX about this misunderstanding during a 2010 interview.
“I notice there’s a dude with his back to me,” Brother Ali said in the exclusive 2010 interview with HipHopDX. “He’s in a flannel shirt, with a hat on and glasses with his back to me, and he’s beatboxing…I walk up to him, as I’m rhyming, and I snatch his mic like, ‘Get the fuck off the stage.'”
During that interview, Ali also said that he felt his freestyle was not up to par.
“All the things I’m thinking of things to say about him in my freestyle without being offensive,” Ali said to HipHopDX in 2010. “Mentioning ‘Cry Me A River’ or ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ were all things that are genuine compliments, but in that context might seem like a diss.”
During that 2010 interview, Ali also explained his thought process when it comes to the stage.
“I’m an emcee,” Brother Ali said. “I come from a time when emcees were really emcees. I come from getting into a fight over the microphone. I come from knocking you out and stealing your records time. I come from, ‘Why are you the only white dude in this room?’ time.”
A video made my a fan at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming event can be found below, as published by HipHopDX in 2010.