Brother Ali & Evidence with Marlon Craft
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Over the past 17 years, Brother Ali has earned wide critical acclaim for his deeply personal, socially conscious, and inspiring brand of hip-hop. Under Rhymesayers Entertainment, he’s unleashed a series of lauded projects, establishing himself as one of the most respected independent voices in music. The latest chapter in that celebrated journey is All the Beauty in This Whole Life, a 15-track collection produced entirely by Atmosphere’s Anthony “Ant” Davis."This entire album is based on the reality that beauty is the splendor of truth" says the Minneapolis MC. "Beauty in all of its forms is the outward manifestation of love and virtue. It soothes the soul and pulls it gently toward the truth it communicates. 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."All the Beauty in This Whole Life is Ali’s first official release in five years and represents the newest and most refined chapter of his life's journey. "Each of my albums are the result of the pain, growth and eventual healing that I experience. Articulating the pain and navigating the healing allows the people who really feel my music to travel with me. It's not only that we hurt together, we heal together as well."Contrasting intensely heavy moments with joyous and grateful ones, All the Beauty in This Whole Life arrives right on time, to help heal a divided nation through the power of music. Ali wouldn’t have it any other way. "In times of great suffering in the outside world, the most important battles start from within."
Evidence has returned to deliver his third solo album, Weather or Not. As the final chapter in The Weatherman series before beginning the next saga, the title, Weather Or Not, is a familiar turn of phrase for his die-hard fans. As Evidence explains, “On the Dilated Peoples song ‘Guaranteed’, I had a line that said, ‘Some think I’m clever, others think I’m the one who makes too many references to weather… or not'. Every time I would perform that song live, the crowd would always say the ‘or not,’ so I knew I was on to something, and it would eventually be an album title.”
As fans would expect, Weather or Not embodies the heart of the hip-hop culture; clever wordplay laid over heavy boom-bap production, a gift that’s been captured perfectly on songs like the Nottz-produced “Jim Dean” or the DJ Premier-laced “10,000 Hours”. In addition, Evidence also exhibits his gift for weaving moments of personal and introspective reflection into his writing. On “Love is a Funny Thing”, he muses on the things we claim to love and, along with guests Rapsody and Styles P, the three dissect the way we misuse that word’s multiple meanings and abuse its power. Evidence also provides an intimate look into his personal life on “By My Side Too,” which documents how his son saved his mother’s life by indirectly discovering her cancer.
For Weather or Not, Evidence tapped a stellar cast of producers to share duties with, including Alchemist, DJ Premier, Nottz, DJ Babu, Twiz The Beat Pro, Sam I Yam and Budgie. The album also features an all-star lineup of guests and friends, including Slug (Atmosphere), Rakaa (Dilated Peoples), Alchemist, Styles P, Rapsody, Jonwayne, Defari, Krondon, Khrysis, Mach Hommy and Catero.
As a solo artist and one-third of Dilated Peoples, Evidence has established himself as one of hip-hop’s most accomplished rappers and producers, working with Domo Genesis, Linkin Park, Beastie Boys, Defari, Madchild and Krondon, among others. His production work earned a Grammy Award for co-production on Kanye's "College Dropout" and four JUNO Awards for his work with Canadian hip-hop group Swollen Members. Through it all, he’s remained true to his hard-core hip-hop sonic and lyrical sensibility, which continues on Weather Or Not. “After we made our most recent Dilated Peoples album (Directors of Photography in 2014), I was like, ‘Now what?’ Evidence states. “Right away I started doing my weather thing again. I made this new album with loyalists in mind. There’s nothing that’s unintentional.”
Evidence has also emerged as a world-renowned photographer with more than 335,000 Instagram followers. His work has been picked up and featured by numerous streetwear brands, including Diamond Supply and V/SUAL, as well as the imported beer brand Dos Equis, and is currently on display in the Watts, California restaurant, LocoL, owned by celebrity chef Roy Choi.
Speaking on his new music though, Evidence reveals, “Now that the album is finished, I can see clearly that every single song serves its own purpose. To me, it’s like a playlist, or a greatest hits collection…except that none of these songs existed before I made them.”
There is a civil war going on inside rap that no one is safe from. Older purists accuse millennials of regressing the art of organic beats and lyrical rhymes, while the new generation dismisses its elders as fossils still frozen in the 20th century. The solution is Marlon Craft. The 26-year-old New York City MC offers an essential mix of new school oxygen and golden era sensibilities. After making waves in the Big Apple’s underground scene with a young yet consistently impressive catalogue, the Hell’s Kitchen native is ready to join the rankings of hometown influences like 50 Cent and Cam’ron.
Marlon leads with his pen. He not only has an ability to weave innovative similes and advanced wordplay with a multitude of deliveries, his skill skips over technical vanity to give his music purpose. Rare in his city’s age group is a “woke” master of ceremony who awakens listeners with punch lines capable of torching Sway In The Morning and XXL. Craft’s 2017 project The Tunnel’s End offered much
in that regard––from scribe crime like “Marco Made Me Do It” to the infectious knocker “THE FEELS/ TTE 2,”and motivational bars on the empathetic “Brainiacs."
On Marlon’s 4 track EP, titled A Dollar In Quarters, the unapologetic orator puts more skin in the game with a veteran’s balance of wisdom and sporty braggadocio. If the jazzy bass lines pillaring his tracks revert you to an early feel, it’s because he’s influenced by Just Blaze and his father, a jazz percussionist. The boom bap is in his DNA.
In 2018, he released “NY BABY,” a triumph that boasts of his hometown with a guest verse by Bodega Bamz. He performed the track on VICELAND's DANNY'S HOUSE. Marlon kicked off 2019 by launching a social campaign, single and video, titled, "Do the Work” where he partnered alongside three NYC organizations to educate the community of services available within the justice, education and mental health systems. Marlon’s debut studio album, Funhouse Mirror dropped June 18, 2019 with standout singles: “Shallow” featuring Dizzy Wright as well as the controversial “Gang Shit” addressing institutional racism in America. T.I., Killer Mike, Questlove, Shaun King continued the conversation of the message Marlon was conveying. Recently Marlon was featured in The New Yorker Magazine for his collaboration with The Halal Guys. Marlon was also recently featured in Billboard, XXL, DJBooth, Hypebeast & Uproxx.
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