Featuring talks forming the group, past beefs, and his cultural impact on hip hop, with video.
Ali , who is a member of the famed group the St. Lunatics got into music at an early age. His father owned three record stores. Two in Detroit and one in St Louis. He was always around music, it was everywhere that he turned. He was young but had an older soul.
He formed the St. Lunatics after he left college. Ali recalls in the year 1991, how people teased him, saying he was country for saying the words hurr and thurr. He used the slang to his advantage and signed a deal with Professor Griff who had just been kicked out of the group Public Enemy.
When asked about how he formed The St. Lunatics, he states he didn’t pick the members. He reached out to a multitude of rappers and they came over to his home.
After he told them what he was trying to do, the rappers kept dwindling and leaving out. In the end, 5 or 6 stayed and that was the group.
For the next two years, He would talk to the group, educating them on what bars are and teaching them how to write a song. Once the group got signed, Ali stated that the success happened overnight. After doing the MTV awards, they came back to St. Louis a week later and were famous.
Ali recalls how the record company never liked their top-selling hits such as “Air Force Ones” or the breakout hit from Nelly’s Grammy Award best album “Country Grammar”
The record label was focused on wanting them to do another song like “Ride with me.” The company felt that was the formula to success. Ali wrote a lot of the material on the first two albums of Country Grammer and Free City.
He is proud of his solo album “Heavy Starch”. Even though it didn’t sell as many units as their first two albums. People are coming to him 20 years later, telling him how much that album meant to them and the things that are going on today.
“People was like yo, you been told us don’t eat sodium nitrate or monosodium glutamate.” Ali touched on his past beef with other Hip Hop stars from the past. He stated that many had the assumption that since people called them country, that St. Louis was soft, but that was far from the truth. He addressed Eminem, Nas, DMX and a few others who gave them respect afterwards.
Lately, Ali has been honoring his peers that came before him by starting a series called ‘Bars to live by.’ . Where he quotes lyrics from the phenomenal pioneers of hip hop from some of their greatest songs. “I have so much fun doing it,” Ali stated. One challenge he faced in the industry was not being prepared for fame. Ali said he could talk to you about doing shopping sprees and that he could talk to you about buying cars, but the only thing he can’t give you is fame. “It’s like selling your soul to the devil” “Me and Murphy Lee didn’t like it.” “Once you get that fame, you cant return it and you don’t know if you like it until you get it.”
Some of the upcoming artists that Ali is tuned into are Lil St. Louis, JGE, and Billion Trillion Dollar Beats.
Ali’s greatest accomplishment is creating a cultural change. He created a rap style, the whole midwest swang, and started a sing-song style that has been running for 22 years. He contributed to a cultural impact. he stated he made Nike 28 billion dollars by coming up with the song “Air Force Ones“
His advice for new artists is “Never stop, keep going. Keep making songs, uploading them to iTunes, because once that one song pops, You already have songs that the audience can go listen to.”
When asked when it is all said and done, what is it that he wants people to know about him? “That I was a good man, a good father, and a good husband.
Full video interview with Ali