Written by Kevin Heffernan
Images courtesy Chill Ali
More hip hop out of Buffalo, with a Chill vibe
We first met Chill Ali while promoting 2018’s Pillars: Hip Hop in WNY show at Burchfield Penney:
He’s a hip hop artist right here in Buffalo, but according to him, “Chill Ali is a vibe.” That vibe comes through strong in his music. Dreamy samples, often from 60s- and 70s-style music, flow up and down whimsically underneath his lyrics. Samples from news clips, conversations and voicemails mix with stories about friends and some enemies.
Like other rappers from Buffalo, Chill touches on the violence that existed in his adolescence and that of his peers. But his tone on-air is not angry. His style suggests somewhat of a peace with how things were, how they are today, and Chill’s willingness to shrug and push forward. The tranquil sounds his words invite the listener to do the same.
Chill kicked off 2020 by dropping a new track, “ProllyonFERRY.” The song’s formation isn’t without controversy:
“Well, I was arrested in early May 2016,” says Ali. “They placed me in Alden Correctional few days after because I was going to be there a month before I seen another judge. Later, I call home and my manager PB was telling my girl that I was being booked for a Curren$y show in Buffalo at the Town Ballroom and that he wanted to meet me. But still I was locked up and wasn’t suppose to get out until June sometime.
“So late May now, days leading into the show I was still being held and through all the frustration I ended writing the verse to POF, still it was only a concept. By the day of the show it wasn’t looking good for me and likely I wouldn’t be attending the show even though I’m on the bill now. But luckily I had a pop up court date and that judge granted me bail same day. I wasn’t released until a hour after the show ended. I even walked to the Ballroom once they had me downtown and finally released me with no belt, phone or even shoe strings but I was free. I missed the show though and meeting Curren$y.
“Next day I got my property, checked my emails and I had a beat from local producer Franksoundslike who I collaborate with a lot. As soon as it touched my ears I started rapping what I wrote in Alden and later that day I recorded it. I later put the song on me and Franksoundslike collaboration EP titled ROSELAND(via Soundcloud). The skit at the end was fitting because of conversations I had in Alden about old heads and jail magazines lol. Classic but it’s true to how I live. How we live. On Ferry.”
Listen here on Spotify: