Brother Ali Live @ CJLO

It's not a secret that I'm a huge hip hop fan, as Hooked on Sonics occasionally dabbles in the genre here and there.  Having been a long-time fan of Brother Ali, when I noticed a hint of a last minute possibility for a session based on his tour routing, I quickly contacted our pal Jess at Co-Sign Collective who got on the horn immediately with Ali's people at Rhymesayers and within a few hours, we had the whole thing planned. The next day, I was to pick up Ali at his hotel, and bring him to the station for a session and interview.

The whole session became a CJLO family endeavour as Ali was interviewed earlier in the week by Doc Holidae of Phantastiq Cypha and, arguably Ali's #1 fan, DJ Miss Chief of Greedy Graffiti.  The session was engineered by huge hip hop fan Brian of Countdown to Armageddon and mixed predominantly by Lachlan of Acetate Gratified.  Even the whole Limelight crew and ex-CJLOer Darcy MacDonald, now a columnist for the Montreal Mirror, were there when the session and interview was being recorded.  In the end, it was good we had a full gang there, as J Nice and Oracle of the "Limelight" had to drive me and Ali back to his hotel when my car's battery died.

Ali recorded two session tracks of songs from his Us album, as well as an off the cuff, totally spontaneous freestyle (!) over Autolux's "Turnstile Blues" from their Future Perfect record.  Before I picked Ali up from his hotel, I chopped and looped the beat and brought it to the table when he was in our studios.  He was totally into doing it as long as we stressed that this was completely improvised on the spot. It really needs to be heard to be believed, he freestyled over the FULL loop I had produced, it was unbelievable, we were losing our minds watching this.

It truly was a fun and amazing afternoon and evening (barring that dead battery...sigh), culminating with Brother Ali himself shouting out CJLO later that evening, remarking that his time at the CJLO Studios felt like "hanging out with a bunch of old friends".

We couldn't have said it better, Ali.  You're always welcome in our home.

*Autolux freestyle produced by Omar Husain



Recorded on: 
April 11 2010
Aired on: 
Hooked on Sonics
Engineered by: 
Brian Hastie + Brian Joseph
Mixed by: 
Lachlan Fletcher