Baltimore’s Abdu Ali dares to be free on the post-futuristic “Chastity”

An unconventional, and daring call for self-love and acceptance.

February 19, 2019

What is it like to love yourself without reservations under a system that wants you dead? This is the question Baltimore artist Abdu Ali explores on their new single, "Chastity," premiering today on The FADER along with a Whitney Mallett-directed video. The track comes off their forthcoming album, FIYAH!!!, due in April.

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Peering at the question with grace and love, "Chastity" focuses on the push and pulls of divine self-acceptance, and the traumatic losses that had to happen to reach that point. "Way back I wanted to be clean, but now I see that being dirty is the way to be," Ali raps on the initial moments of the song, "Free. Free. Free." The track pulses via an experimental blend of jazz, electronic, and 808s, which Ali labels as "post-futuristic." For me, it brought to mind something else about freedom: that oftentimes it leads to profound creation, and transformation.

“Society cages souls that dare to be free and stand as themselves," Ali writes via email. "'Chastity' verbalizes the experience of living as a marginalized being and how these people tend to struggle with the desire of wanting to fit in. But at the end of the song, this person gives into the urge of wanting to live as their fullest selves, despite the hardships that come with that. In the midst of this liberating moment, you can hear them poetically scream. In the video I want to reflect the constant battle-like run between encasement of social norms and cultural institutions, and the fight to break out of that. We end up deciding to fight and break out of the matrix.”

Baltimore’s Abdu Ali dares to be free on the post-futuristic “Chastity”