"Abiyah is the queen of all the mechanical parts of your heart. Her songs let you breathe underwater. She's the only thing your brain and your hips can agree on."
--Open Mike Eagle (LA-Mello Music Group/HellfyreClub/Fake Four Inc.)
"Abiyah is the genuine article. A woman who is unique, talented and writes her own sh*t."
--louis logic (NYC-Fake Four Inc.)
"Criss-crossing genres right and left - hip-hop, rock, electronica, industrial - Abiyah is one of Cincinnati's busiest and most popular performers. Famous for her poetry, she often mixes in a healthy dose of spoken word in her high energy performances."
--Jim Knippenberg, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Asking Abiyah to give up her musical flights of fancy and pick one genre would be like asking a tigress to change her stripes. Forget it. Which Abiyah will be playing the festival? The chanteuse-over-DJ, the Punk priestess, the erudite MC or the avant-garde performance artist? Whichever, her music will be clever, danceable, sensual and confrontational."
--Cincinnati CityBeat's MidPoint Band Guide - September 2005
"It's like getting blitzed by Chuck D and Maya Angelou at the same time!"
--Ezra Waller, cincymusic.co
Take a Soul Train dancer from 1974—one of them sistas who didn’t give a f*ck about cameras or Don Cornelius—well, if that sista made love to George Clinton and they had a baby girl and they let Patti Smith and Sister Carol raise that girl child in an embrace pre-dating same-sex marriage debates, that girl child woulda grown up to be Abiyah. By the early aughts, Cincinnati-based Abiyah hit upon a highly workable concoction: she fused her punk ethos with her love of Hip Hop, Dancehall, Dub, Alternative Rock and Spoken Word and racked up recorded collaborations and stage-to-the-page performances that resonate to this day—a poet published in the anthology Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2001), Abiyah killed it on her impressive 2002 EP debut single “Free Wild Muse” produced by N8tiveSun, got all Grace Slick on 2004’s Coltrane Motion remix of her psychedelic cicada love song “Rise” and tweaked Bobby McFerrin’s notion of melodic vox on “Ring Around the Rosie,” an a capella/beatbox meditation recorded with Fairmount Girls’ Dana Hamblen and beatboxer Marty Spitfly.
A six-time CityBeat Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Hip Hop nominee and six-time MidPoint Music Festival veteran, Abiyah has performed at NYC’s Sidewalk Cafe and the now-defunct Trash Bar, opened for avant-hip hop/poetry vanguards Mike Ladd and Beans, as well as Big Freedia, Serengeti, Busdriver, and clipping., and, in 2011, appeared on LA art-rapper Open Mike Eagle’s second full-length offering “Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes.” She is also an all-vinyl reggae DJ with Cincinnati- based Queen City Imperial Soundsystem.
In March 2014, Abiyah embarked on her first tour, The First Ladies Tour, a two-week jaunt with then NYC-/now Oakland-based nu-R&B singer Corina Corina. In October 2014, she performed at the first annual Louisville Outskirts Festival, a female-focused music festival, and also had the opportunity to perform for girl ages 10-18 as part of the Rockshops for Girls program associated with the festival. Abiyah was a primary member of the organizing and booking committees for Ladyfest Cincinnati 2015, and, in June 2015, she presented a strategy session, "Odd Woman Out: Being a Female Hip Hop Artist and Promoter," at the 2015 Allied Media Conference in Detroit. In July 2016, performed at the Ladies First quarterly performances series in Chicago with other women in soul/R&B/hip hop from around the country.
Abiyah released the video for her collaborative noise rap song "Blup" (with Eugenius) in September 2016, and a cassette single, 'Boom', in August 2017, and is currently working on several other music projects to be released in 2019.
From her iconic days at the forefront of the floetry genre when she pre-dated and sidestepped the stereotypical lovelorn verses spit at coffeehouse open mics, to her postmodern style smeared and sometimes sung across any style she chooses, Abiyah still has something to say. And it’s gonna be in a language she invented. And it will be spoken and sung to the ages.
Recommended If You Like: Santigold, Lizzo, Open Mike Eagle, Dessa, Kraftwerk, MIA, Queen Latifah, Sister Carol