Style Identified: Abdu Ali

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Abdu Ali. Photo: Olivia Obineme

Abdu Ali, 23, artist

Nickname(s): Abby, Queen Banjee, Abdisha, Boo

His website:

He’s on Twitter @abduali.

His mixtape.

Abdu Ali is in a world of his own.

If you choose to enter it, there’s nothing that you can do to prepare yourself. The world of Abdu Ali will swallow you whole, and you’ll be swimming on a fantastical high backstroking in the unknown.

“I’m an emotionally mature crab with occasional meltdowns and outbursts,” Ali said.

“I’m chill though—my home is my sanctuary. I can be a major homebody. I’m sweet, but I can be feisty. I am shade, the good kind though. I have decent morals.”


Photo: Olivia Obineme

There are many household names in the Baltimore hip-hop scene, but Ali’s music emerges as a sound you can’t categorize. Just from his latest mixtape “Push + Slay”, you are taken on this roller coaster ride of beats of a relatively new found art in the hip-hop world. It’s as Afropunk’s blog Sound Check called it, “the latest disciple of the new school of noise rap.”

“Push + Slay” oozes with confidence—a “don’t fuck with me” declaration.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

“Can I just be in my underwear?”

In his friend’s Eutaw Place dwelling, as miscellaneous as Ali, sits the 23-year-old in his royal blue and green undergarments, on a wooden chair in an unfinished white room.

On exhibit, self-titled “Messiah for Apollo” is ready to take you on a journey into the insomniac and glorious rabbit hole.

Are you ready?

One interesting thing about yourself: I, like, eat pork grinds sometimes.

What you can’t live without: My tigers eye ring. 

You’d never be caught in… a grey suit. Blah.

Where do you like to shop? Thrift, Etsy, and friends’ closets.

Describe your style: I am a visualizer, so my style is what I see.

Style & musical inspirations: The streets, the books, Baltimore, the king queenz, and all the crazy shit that’s not real yet, but exist in my head.

On the reg, I’m your average eccentric banjee boy smelling like ylang ylang. And at night, I’m the twisted fuck son/daughter of Sun Rah, Sir Clinton (George), Badu, Puffy (90s), and Eddie Sedgwick. My shit is very cosmic dark/light buckness.

Patterns, shine, and unity.

Thoughts on your city’s style: You get gutter-realness in Baltimore. My fave fashion people to look at is the banjee girls in the hood or the feins on North Avenue. They do the most bizarre shit that makes mad sense.

I don’t live for these art school kids. They’re so predictable and looking like your most liked pic on Tumblr. Except for my gutter art school kids, who usually come from real ass places like NYC, Chi-town, overseas like the UK or something. I’m living for this “sports wear as party wear” look.

What’s coming up for you? Listen to my new mixtape, PUSH + SLAY. It’s what I’m looking forward to in the future –hopefully intruding the minds and flesh of society.

One more thing… Music is dry as fuck on the surface and we music moles need to come out and breathe new air into this mundane, dusty ass music that’s out now.

Everyone is so “canvassy,” ya know? Letting people paint on them and do whatever they want. No, we are the painters and we need to paint some shit that’s going to blow the senses like your finest drug.

I’m excited to see how music and technology will come together to do that. I know it’s going to be some epic shit. Shout outs to my girl BJORK who already been on that tip.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Creator & managing editor of Strangers With Style. Happiest when her work allows others to shine, too. Lover of collabs, social media, blogging, fashion, food & the color blue.