Support for this one comes from Brighton’s own hip hop collective Monkey Sons. Featuring old school UK hip hop stalwarts Remark (from UK crew Deliverance) and Bandog (from UK crew Killa Instinct). It’s a lively set with the two MCs complementing each other very nicely and delivering unashamed good time hip hop. Added vocals from Martina plus live bass and a DJ make this a great show and a good way to kick off proceedings.

Brother Ali (or Jason Newman before his conversion to Islam) has touched down in Brighton as part of a lengthy UK tour to promote his new album “Us”. Hailing from Minneapolis he has his own distinctive take on hip hop, combining political and party time rhymes in equal measure. It’s just him and his DJ BK-One for this gig, and he begins by warming up the crowd with some old school rhyming over the instrumentals to recognised hip hop classics by BDP, Eric B and Rakim, Run DMC etc etc. A good way to start and a nice nod to the pioneers. The set then settles into a nice mix of his older Rhymesayers material and songs off the new album. He’s on good form, chatting to the crowd and making self deprecating comments about himself. He even finds time to tell a lengthy joke about a kid catching his parents having sex.

It’s the second time I’ve seen him and yet again it’s a good, entertaining set. He finished with his autobiographical song from 2003 “Forest Whitiker” which references his albinism and bad eyesight (he’s registered blind) with lyrics that say:

“I got red eyes and one of them’s lazy
and they both squint when the sun shines so I look crazy.
I’m albino man, I know I’m pink and pale.
And I’m hairy as hell, everywhere but fingernails”

It’s his testament to loving yourself and he has the crowd singing along call and response style. With rhymes for days and buckets of charisma, Brother Ali is always worth checking out.


His song “Forest Whitiker”