THE SOCIALIST VOCALIST
Equally at home spitting raps on park benches or picket lines, MC Mohammad Ali blends the raw energy that made hip-hop the global cultural force that it is, with a rock solid commitment to grassroots social justice activism. Drawing on the legacies of Chuck D and Huey P, activism is far from a marketing gimmick for this veteran organizer – it’s what he lives, breathes and spits back out again, over some of the freshest beats this side of the 49th. A schooled activist and acclaimed wordsmith, Mohammad’s music is the unfiltered articulation of a decade spent fighting the power in Toronto, Canada and beyond. While collaborating with some of the best young music producers in the T Dot – from Fresh Kils (DJ Jazzy Jeff, Fashawn), and Junia T (Rich Kidd, Thurz), to Guzo Lou (of Tre Leji and Tanika Charles fame) – Mohammad remains knee-deep in the labour rights movement, walking the fine line between ‘artist’ and ‘activist’ with tightrope precision. “As an activist it’s critical you don’t water down your material, and as an artist it’s critical I retain my honesty,” Ali argues. “I feel this project combines my two loves in a way that does both of them the justice they demand.”
As an artist, Mohammad Ali has shared stages across Canada, Africa, and Cuba with hip-hop heavyweights like KRS-One, DJ Dopey, and punk rock agitators, Propaghandhi. He has performed from coast-to-coast, rocking crowds of between tens and tens of thousands with the energy and passion of the Dead Prez’ and Rage Against the Machines that came before him. With his new album, Labour of Love, Mohammad ups the bar on protest music with a hard-hitting selection of workers’ anthems, spoken word poems and gritty frontline labour narratives designed to instil new energy in the movement for workers’ rights. Moving labour struggles beyond the acoustic guitar and onto the beats heard in the kinds of workplaces Mohammad and others of his generation have found themselves navigating, the Socialist Vocalist is poised to drop the definitive labour album of his generation this fall. Mohammad’s lyrics blend historical and contemporary workers struggles, giving voice to thousands who have found their working lives marred by ‘right to work’ legislation, zero-hours contracts, and precarious labour conditions. The specifics of the labour movement may have changed over the decades, but the trajectory remains the same, and Ali brings the past and the present together in a seamless soundscape of resistance.
As a community educator and organizer, Mohammad Ali founded the annual Hip-Hop & Empowerment conference in 2011. Beyond campus, Ali has spoken at universities and union conventions on hip-hop history, the politics of art, the education system and anti-racist practices across Canada. He is currently writing a series of essays on the role of hip-hop in challenging oppressive social structures, and mobilizing urban youth via arts and culture.
He will be touring Canada between October 2019 and March 2020 and is available for performances, talks, workshops and various combinations of the above during that time. For booking inquiries or more information, please contact email@example.com