An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!
Either I’m generally streamlining my articles to get to the core material, or I’m slowly realizing I spend way too much time and text oversharing. This weekend’s earworm is going to be short, sweet, and to the point, focusing on a tune—and artist—that tends to surface whenever I find myself needing a pick-me-up. For the times when life has got me down, when goals seemed out of reach, or even when I just feel like the odd man out, this song has served as motivation. Positive music isn’t hard to come by but positive hip-hop that’s still actually good? Well that’s all sorts of special.
Brother Ali – “Forest Whitaker”
Beyond being one of the more prolific rappers in this day and age, a good portion of Brother Ali’s music exudes an exciting amount of positivity—and I don’t think there’s a better example of this than in the track “Forest Whitaker.” For the uninitiated, Midwest rapper Brother Ali was born with albinism and has been vocal about it being the reason for the tougher parts of his childhood.
Growing up different isn’t easy on anyone—especially when that difference is something you cannot hide or ignore. Ali faced his unique qualities head-on and came out the other end a powerhouse of confidence, social justice, and positivity in the face of adversity. The song’s lyrics are a laundry list of what makes him different and what some would consider flaws, but Brother Ali makes it clear that what others think really doesn’t matter one bit.
You might think I’m depressed as can be/But when I look in the mirror, I see sexy ass me/And if that’s somethin’ that you can’t respect then that’s peace/My life’s better without you actually
This 2003 track was “body positive” before that was even a commonly used phrase. Not all of Brother Ali’s music is as uplifting as this track, but even his more somber songs take a poignant look at things that need to change. His music is consistently thought-provoking, whether it’s about rejecting the superficial aspects of life or facing the real—and sometimes dangerous—issues facing the world today.
If left to my own devices, I could easily share a few dozen more songs and wax poetic about how insightful Brother Ali is in each one. His music is a deep dive into topics of social justice, acceptance of others, and making the world a little better when you can. You’ll get hooked on his full discography eventually, but for now you’ve got a good appetizer with “Forest Whitaker.” So go on, press play, let it get stuck in your head. Having a song like this on the brain, it’s nearly impossible to avoid going out and sharing the best version of yourself with the world. So go do it.
What are some of your favorite Brother Ali tracks? Let’s discuss ’em in the comments below.
Image: Brother Ali
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)