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ali hip hop connection    Ali Ibn Abu Talib was the cousin of the prophet Muhammad and a very important person in the history of Islam. In fact, he was the one that separated Islam in Shii and Sunni branches. But our two Ali-s are of a very different kind. They live out of place and space. They break all possible logic. In their personal revolution Hip Hop music has been their weapon.
brother ali: the white who is blacker than blacks.

Brother Ali was born in Wisconsin but when he got older he moved to Minneapolis. Once there, he got immersed in the Hip Hop movement. In his youth people would disagree about his race. Most would think he was an African American. At an interview, in order to stop the gossip and against his will, he declared that he was an albino; that his parents were white but he grew up and was raised among blacks. He owes the black community and their culture his efforts to overcome what he suffered due to his physical appearance. His song “Forest Whitiker” tells in a very direct and ironic way how different he would feel all the time. He himself recorded his first work, “Rites of Passage”, on a cassette. It became popular very quickly. Copies of his music were spreading around in high speed. He earned enough resources to record his second work, “The Undisputed Truth” (2007). In this album he fuses his words with dub/roots, reggae and soul. In the field of music he has always admired contemporary proclaimed hip hop artists (mainly KRS-One and Rakim) and regarding words, this albino artist mentions everyone once he is with his microphone. Songs such as “Uncle Sam Goddam” have been very polemic and according to Brother Ali... “It’s scary... there are quite a few who are imprisoned in Guantanamo for less than what I said”

system ali. a system to fight the system.

There are 7 rappers and 5 musicians in the group System Ali. Each carries his own story in his back. The most important thing they have in common: Yaffa. Even though they come from different places (Palestine, Israel and Russia), they all live in this Palestinian city. They sing about the every-day life in Yaffa in “yaffawiayn,” a colloquial mixture of Arabic and Hebrew. You can imagine that the relationship among the group members has not been easy. Considering where they live and the fact that each of them come from a different cultural and religious background, it is hard from them to hold on to the project. Music-wise their careers have also been very different and this is precisely what makes their project so rich and original. Their mixture of traditional Arabic music, reggae, rock and hip-hop overcomes any limits and it is reaching every corner of the world. So far, they have reached their audience through amateur recordings, cassettes and CDs. In Palestine there is no other way one could reach the audience. System Ali shows the other side of illegal music markets, even though the music industry won’t agree. Last year and for the first time, they worked at a professional studio. The hip hop star MC Ty has been their producer and assistant in the recording process.