Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brother Ali: Interview (January, 2011) @ Antiquiet

Brother Ali: Interview (January, 2011) @ Antiquiet


I support people’s rights to speak and have access to the truth, and to promote it. There’s a really big fight going on with the net neutrality bill, and we’re facing the potential of control over the internet where everyday people don’t have the same platform on the internet as corporations. It’s interesting, with this whole thing there’s been a big sweep of websites by the Department of Homeland Security for those they consider to be criminal. With no warning, no communication, no due process. They seized their domains and shut down their sites, and it’s interesting that it happened to three major Hip-Hop blogs. It had nothing to do with anything political or anything like that, but the RIAA had them shut down because they helped artists leak materials and videos and such that’s not released yet. So the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to protect us from terrorism, seized a website called They leaked a new 50 Cent song and the new Joel Ortiz record, but what does that have to do with homeland security? How is that terrorism? The precedent that’s set by that is really amazing, really terrifying.

That’s terrorism in its own right.

Right. I had to file with the Department of Homeland Security when I went to Australia on tour. Our Australian show promoter wire transferred money for our shows to our bank accounts in Minneapolis, and the Department of Homeland Security froze that bank account and stopped the transfer. I had to register with them, give them my information, who I am & what I was doing, everybody that worked for me, my schedule, social security numbers, addresses, bank accounts, more things than you could believe. The froze everything up.

They told me that it was random. That the words Brother and Ali were red flag words, but I was made aware at the end of the whole ordeal that they were aware of the Uncle Sam Goddamn video.

Right around the time that video hit a million views, after I performed it on TV, that’s when that happened. I got kicked off a tour for that song, because it was sponsored by a big company. Got a lot of hate mail from guys named Chad, writing private MySpace messages back in the day. Guys with no shirts on and white baseball hats on backwards telling me “I’m gonna come to your show tonight and beat your ass.” I got a lot of that for probably about a year. And at my shows I’m always at the merch table… no ass kickings ever happened.

The thing is, nothing I say is really even that dangerous. I’m not even saying shit compared to like…

Zach De La Rocha, Immortal Technique

Yeah, not to mention Dead Prez, people who have bigger platforms and say a lot more than I do. I don’t consider myself a political artist, I haven’t made that my mission. I just have a few songs where I stated some things.