Hometown: Baltimore

Twitter: @AbduAli

You should listen to: "Machete Warz"

There’s no easy way to define Baltimore’s bubbling alt rapper, Abdu Ali. Flipping what most accept as hip-hop on its ear, he started making music in 2012 and released his debut project, INVICTOS—an uninhibited, spiritually-charged journey of self-identity. Musically, he incorporates not only rap, but ballroom music, Baltimore club, and punk into his repertoire as well. His sophomore effort, Push + Slay. dropped in Fall 2013 and showcased him as a more well-versed artist. Church sermon-worthy incantations laid over a collection of production by frequent contributor Schwarz—who crafts a Baltimore club-driven style that flashes ethereal, foggy backdrops and menacing crunk beats from Three 6 Mafia’s early days— landed Push + Slay a spot in SPIN’s November albums of note last year.

With a refreshingly transparent catalog and a performance more gripping and energetic than most (seriously, this dude gets so turnt) Ali looks like he’ll continue churning out quality material. This summer he’ll be releasing a vinyl album called INFINITY EPIPHANIES through Araca Records and it’ll include production from B L A C K I E. Some of his notable cuts are “360”, “Machete Warz” and “Bleed.”