“Young cat from the Twin Cities got that gift,” Brother Ali tweeted a few weeks back, along with a link to a YouTube video: And just like that, the hip-hop community was introduced to 16-year-old North Minneapolis rapper Tomorrow Genius. The young talent appears to be something of a protege for Ali; shortly after sending out that tweet, they went into the studio record a new track, “Let Em Through,” with producer Plain Ole Bill, and Ali and Tomorrow also appeared together at Friday night’s sold-out Get Cryphy to perform the song for the first time live.
On such a wild night that featured one momentum-building DJ set after another and guest artists like Astronautalis, Prof, St. Paul Slim, and Truth Be Told taking turns at the mic, it says something that Tomorrow Genius’s performance with Ali stood out above the din. It was obvious that Tomorrow took the opportunity quite seriously, too; he delivered his lines so aggressively that his voice went hoarse, and then repeated the last verse of “Let Em Through” a capella to the captivated crowd in one of the evening’s rare quieter moments.
Tomorrow’s style is quite different from Ali’s; his range is higher and his delivery more urgent, almost squirrely at times, and his lyrical content is poetically punctuated by braggadocio. That aggressive approach bleeds over into Brother Ali’s verses on the new track as well, and it might surprise fans of Ali’s generally more laid-back, conversational candor.
Listen to Tomorrow’s track with Ali below, in addition to a new song, “Relationship Robbery,” that he just released yesterday. Heads up: Both tracks contain graphic language.