Baltimore rapper Abdu Ali is one of the most versatile MCs out there right now — his willingness to rap over everything from experimental noise to explosive hip-hop makes that clear. On his accomplished debut full-length, MONGO, which dropped this past May, Ali showed himself to be a master of juxtaposition, tagging his songs things like "afro cyber punk" and "hip hop soul."
Today, we're premiering the video for one of the album's most exciting cuts, the Mighty Mark-produced "Did Dat." Co-directed by Corey Hughes and Ali himself, the video features people dancing joyfully in slow motion in a vacant concrete expanse, and then shots of Ali alone in a forest, wearing an iridescent shirt and looking straight on at the camera. Hot asphalt and lush greenery; solitary company and a group hangout. Ali makes all the pieces fit together, as he and his friends come together in celebration of black achievement.
He explains his inspiration for the song and its video below:
"The other day I was reading my friend Devin's piece called 'Waking Up Black' in his 3 dot Zine, in which he illustrates the universal everyday challenges that exists for black folk globally. I got real sad after taking it all in but then somehow, which is usually the case for me, after feeling defeated, I then felt motivated to be undefeated. I thought, hmm, maybe I should think like this: 'Waking up black and yass bitch, I DID DAT', as in we did dat. Black People DID DAT. Black slaves built the fuckin White House and that says so much. I use that fact as a genesis for the theory that black people have always, and still, shape society and culture, and the industry of western civilization was built at the expense of our affliction. Our blood — and all of the indigenous folks' too — is painted all over the land, soil, the clouds, water, every fucking thing.
So I believe we inherently have the right to say, I DID DAT, even if we just woke up and did absolutely nothing with our day because our existence within itself has already done everything. FOH. Also shout out to the power of Baltimore club music, which is not only a genre that liberates the body but it also can liberate the consciousness. That hypnotic bass knock enables so much to seep through ya soul and that's why I always try to put the best mantras on top of a Baltimore club beat! Shout out to Mighty Mark!"
Abdu Ali embarks on a U.S. tour at the end of this month. Dates below.
AUG 21 SUN @ Fields Fest / Camp Ramblewood
SEP 3 SAT OAKLAND @ Club Chai / RTS (DJ SET)
SEP 4 SUN SAN FRANCISCO @ Swagger Like Us / El Rio
SEP 5 MON LA @ Moustache Monday’s / The Lash
SEP 10 SAT LA @ Werk LA
SEP 16 FRI @ Samek Gallery
SEP 17 SAT NYC @ Otion Front Studio
SEP 22 THU BALTIMORE @ The Crown*
SEP 23 FRI DC @ Velvet Lounge*
SEP 24 SAT PHILLY @ PhilaMOCA*
SEP 29 THU ALLENTOWN @ Consolidated Cardboard*
SEP 30 FRI PITTSBURGH @ Special*
OCT 1 SAT HAVERFORD COLLEGE*
OCT 6 THU CINCINNATI @ TBA*
OCT 7 FRI COLUMBUS @ BLVCK ICE / The Summit*
OCT 8 SAT CHICAGO @ EMPTY BOTTLE*
OCT 13 THU CHARLOTTE @ SNUG HARBOR*
OCT 14 FRI ATL @ Mammal Gallery*
OCT 15 SAT SAVANNAH @ Quolab*
OCT 16 SUN CHAPEL HILL @ Nightlight*
OCT 21 FRI RICHMOND @ HOME FURNITURE*
*with Joy Postell