Brother Ali gave a meaningful performance of his “conscious hip-hop” at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Locals greeted each other at the South Lake Tahoe venue, but a good portion of the crowd was comprised of fans from Reno and surrounding areas. Many were attendees of the Atmosphere show last week in Reno and are followers of Atmosphere’s label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, which is where Ali’s records are produced.
DJ Last Word started the show mixing some old-school classics such as “Collard Greens” by Schoolboy Q. He also incorporated conscious hip-hop artists including Sa- Roc. Opening for Ali, Mike Eagle played a set that was popular with the audience and made a positive impression.
Backing Ali’s set, DJ Last Word implemented new sounds and beats into popular Brother Ali songs. Some of the songs were recognizable by the lyrics alone. It gave a new take on songs that fans have heard for years.
Some of his more popular classics such as “Uncle Sam Goddamn” and “Forest Whitaker” were kept closer to the sound of the original tracks. Fans had fun singing along and dancing with friends. Ali performed some great new tracks, as well, including “Father Figures” from his recently released album, “Secrets & Escapes.” He interacted with the crowd through a lot of call and response, “Say yeah if you came with somebody you love tonight!” Friends shouted and put their arms around each other in response. “Say Love!” It was pretty cool hearing the entire room yell out “Love!”
Ali came off of the stage and into the crowd, singing alongside his fans. Still, that wasn’t enough for some. One girl jumped onstage toward the end of the show, hoping to give Ali a hug in the middle of one of his songs. Caught off guard, he gently guided her off the stage, back with her friends. Ali has been very vocal about his albino condition causing partial blindness, and thus not liking to share the stage. He accidentally kicked Justin Timberlake off stage at one of his shows because he couldn’t see that it was Justin.
Despite the stage invasion, Ali’s performance was relaxing, fun, and full of reminders to love each other. What a great note to end on for a crowd of friends filling the Vinyl showroom.
— Amanda Jacobs