Photo by Keem Griffey
Baltimore club producer and Kahlon party curator, Abdu Ali, has followed up his acclaimed MONGO mixtape with the U DID DAT SUMMER CLUB PACK, which THUMP is thrilled to exclusively stream today. Featuring remixes from Qween Beat affiliate Quest?onmarc, KUNQ member Kilbourne (who blew us away with her recent Sourland EP), and Bmore stalwart DJ Juwan, the release is built around standout MONGO cut “Did Dat,” produced by Mighty Mark.
The styles on display range from minimal, viscerally kinetic vogue (Quest?onmarc) to metal-sampling shredder club (Kilbourne), and all-in-all highlights some of the most exciting young producers in US underground. For the premiere, we got to interview Ali via email, where we talked about how the original track functions as a celebration of Black Americans’ social and cultural legacy, the ways MONGO‘s success affected his relationship to Baltimore club, and how his Kahlon party generates physical and metaphysical liberation.
THUMP: Why did you want to do this remix EP? What made you want to work with these collaborators specifically?
Abdu Ali: I never thought of it being a remix EP but I guess it is! lol. When “DID DAT” came about on MONGO, I imagined it to be that summer turn up song of the tape. You know every album or body of music must have a track that’s purely for people to be lit to and “DID DAT” is that and in my opinion every dance single needs to be remixed. So I had it remixed by those who I admire coming up in today’s music scene. DJ Juwan is from Baltimore and is the quintessential Baltimore club DJ. His remixes take me back to the dance moments I had in the infamous Paradox club. Kilbourne is supreme bae and not only do I admire her strength to own her identity but also in her music. She gives you that punk hardcore club shit and I wanted her spin on the track. She calls her remix a “planet core” edit. Quest?onmarc is that new new bitch and his vogue club remixes are too nasty, so I had to get him to cut up on a track.
What was the creative process like for making the original version of “DID DAT”? How did the track come about?
Well me and Mighty Mark met up in the studio with the phrase “I DID DAT” already in my head. I sung it for him and he just started making the beat for it as I was spitting while the rest of the lyrics came out of me. I told him I wanted to sound like the throwback classic Baltimore Club music: minimal, hard hitting, and soulful. The knock in the track hits so consistently, as if it’s reaffirming the phrase “I DID DAT”. It’s one of my fav tracks on the project and for me it’s a self-congratulating empowerment song inspired by the contributions of Black Americans to society and culture, not just in past history but on a daily basis.
MONGO received a lot of critical praise from a range of publications, from politically far-left to more mainstream. What was that reception like for you, and how, if at all, has it affected your artistic practice going forward?
I gagged. I believed in the project but I never could expect so much love and praise for MONGO. I know it was good and I knew it would affect much more folk than past projects cause I made it with the intent to make it universal but geesh it sure did get a lot of love. But one of the most surprising things the reception provoked within me was the motivation to keep Baltimore Club music going and to take ownership of that, my culture, and make sure it doesn’t die with out its proper dues. It’s immediately lovable, it’s cathartic, it’s powerful, it’s very black, and this project made me realize that the next project needs more of it.
Who are some of your favorite artists working today? Are there any scenes or collectives you feel a particular kinship with?
I loved working with DJ Haram on MONGO. She is a genius and the supreme bae. Like I know her mental musical library is on some deep culturally expansive shit just based on the flavor of her sounds. Our musical auras go well together and we make FIYA transcendental music. I also love connecting with Mighty Mark who is also a bae but he gets how that old Baltimore club should be revitalized and transformed without losing the classic vibes of it. As far as collectives go I fucks with the BK baes, Papi Juice cause no shade they the only party I’ve been to in NYC in the past five years that made me feel worthy and powerful and people are actually dancing. I love what the art young black art queenz are doing from people like 3 Dot Zine to Aurel Haize Odogbo to Kimberly Drew. I also fuck with my loves BaltiGurls, a storming and legendary black and brown womyn arts collective who are changing the landscape of artistic public platforms like exhibiting art to throwing parties in the DMV.
How would you describe your Kahlon party to someone who had never heard of it?
Kahlon is a party that not only provokes physical liberation, being an inclusive space full of underrepresented but powerful identities not only in the audience but also on the stage, is empowering, making it a party and music event that is also metaphysically liberation. It’s a moment.
Cover art by Ghostdrank
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