A mother, wife, educator, business owner and rapper, Aitina Fareed a.k.a A.I. The Anomaly has been dominating the local music scene with her empowering rap music for over 10 years. Signed to premier Christian hip-hop label God Over Money, the emerging lady rhymer dropped her third full-length album Soul’s Acrylic this past January. The project, which shares messages of faith, hope and A.I.’s life stories, also centers Buffalo as an artistic space where the rapper thrives. A proud East-side Buffalo native, A.I.’s impressive evolution as an artist and all around creative is reaching new heights.
“Everything that I do, I’m trying to approach it with excellence. I’m not perfect, I’m just striving towards perfection. I’m just trying to be genuine,” A.I. explained.
Naming herself A.I. as an acronym for “All In,” Aitina contributes to the local arts community with an unparelleled level of quality. Operating her own photography business Get Fokus’d Productions, the rapper runs multiple programs and workshops around the city for youth to practice photography, and also recognize young people who are exemplifying excellence across many art disciplines. Implementing her skills in music, film and writing to elevate and uplift the youth, A.I.’s impact in both the arts and music community is ironically the result of her tumultuous past.
Labeled a “failure to thrive” as a young child, a significant part of A.I.’s life was in the foster care system. Losing her mother from substance abuse as a baby, A.I.’s childhood years were riddled with trauma and the feeling of loneliness.
“I grew up feeling less than, I grew up feeling unworthy, not wanted, I felt abandoned…there was a piece of me that was like, ‘Yo, where is my mother and why doesn’t she want me? Where’s my father? Where the rest of my family that I know live here in the same city? Am I worth it? Why didn’t they fight to find me? Why didn’t they fight to keep me?’ So these things were going on in my mind,” explained A.I..
Adopted by a “strong, beautiful, brown woman, who came from a COGIC background,” A.I. was introduced to God early in her life, but still dealt with internal issues. Wrestling with her identity, art in many ways became a guiding light. Crediting her beginnings as an artist to an after school program called Yo! Buffalo – which provided local youth to experience different places and forms of art, the young rhymer expanded her horizons.
“There was something about the arts that really made me feel like I had something in me,” A.I. added, “I knew it was impactful and powerful.”
Around the same time, A.I. also developed an interest in music. Inspired by many different genres of music – especially hip-hop, she would often sneak and listen to the radio and used her passion for writing to create raps. Making an even deeper dive into music as a young adult, A.I. started battle rapping and performing at local clubs, but there was still a lingering eagerness to grow in her spirituality.
“I knew who God was, I wanted to please him, but when I got to high school I was like ‘Yeah, uh nobody’s doing that so I’m just gonna do me.’ And I did, and that lead me to some dark spaces…but I thank God that I came back full circle,” added A.I..
Giving her life to Jesus Christ in 2007, A.I. as a a new believer and young mother considered rapping only a hobby- but encouragement from family and friends pushed her. Soon realizing that she could make music about her life and God, A.I. started rapping again at full force. Since then, the rapper has connected to a strong network of Christian rap artists in Buffalo and abroad – Most notably, signing to popular Christian label God Over Money in 2019 as their first female artist. Now a larger figure who is unapologetically embracing all her talents, A.I.’s handful of successful programs and string of distinct projects continue to put faith at the forefront.
With that said, Soul’s Acrylic is a vibrant centering of A.I. as a multi-faceted woman. Songs like “Relentless,””Grwn Woman” and “Preach” are all bold, swaggy tracks that display the rapper as a person who wears a lot of hats, but also is confident in her purpose. Speaking with conviction and wisdom, A.I. also shares her vulnerabilities – Songs like “Not Ok,” “Journal Entry Six” and the Jered Sanders assisted “Freedom’s Place” are transparent, mellow tracks that highlights moments of grief and anxiety, but still offers hope.
“If you follow the discography you’d see Sever Threads was this peeling off if you will. This severing of habits and issues, and me coming to grips with the loss of my mother. And after I did that project I felt free, free to like look and interpret my life as this blank canvas (Blnkvs), so that was the next project. And then here is Soul’s Acrylic; I’m freely painting,” explained A.I..
More fluid and honest than ever, A.I. has integrated all of her artistic passions with the roll out for Soul’s Acrylic. From merch packages, writing workshops to even detailing the color palette for the project, in many ways A.I. has woven together the once fragmented parts of her life into a beautiful tapestry.
“With God and with the arts, I was able to go beyond,” A.I. mentioned.
Continuing to step into her power as a creative, A.I.’s main goal is to nurture the next generation. A mother of 2 children, her sheer focus on building up young people is at the core of her work. Giving opportunities to encourage and empower youth is something she’s expecting to do for a long time, along with her music.
“It’s very important to the culture period to pass the torch. It’s something that I think is imperative in everything that we do. I would encourage everybody to find at least 1 or 2 young versions of yourself to pour as much as you can into,” explained A.I..
Flexing her powers as an teacher, rapper and role model, A.I. is using art and music to do the Lord’s work.
“God is the ultimate artist and if it wasn’t for my faith in God and my grip on that, I wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do so my goal is to continually point to him. All glory goes to him,” A.I. concluded.
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