Columbia’s Ahomari is among the strongest voices coming out of South Carolina right now. The gender non-conforming singer/songwriter has released projects under a multitude of names, each a slightly different take on their unique variety of sultry electro indie pop. They have become a favorite of the local Post and Courier who have written glowingly about a number of Ahomari’s projects under a number of different monikers. The paper went as far as to declare that Ahomari, “Might well be Columbia’s most prolific songwriter,” in a piece where they went on to call them “the middle ground between Bon Iver and The Weeknd.” While undoubtedly high praise its quite an apt comparison. Ahomari writes about their sexuality and desires as candidly as Abel Tesfaye while grounded in the often-difficult reality of their life as a gender non-conforming Black artist in South Carolina.
Late this August Ahomari dropped Girl Kiss II, the follow up to their EP of the same name that dropped in August of last year. Girl Kiss II is the rarified sequel that surpasses the quality of its predecessor. Early album highlight “Crush” is a woozy autotuned laced love ballad where Ahomari trades barbs with Brooklyn rapper Taphari about a nervous budding romance. It’s the sexiest song ever made with explicit requests for communication on intent, as Ahomari croons, “Please make your intentions clear // I don’t mind a good time // Usually not the type to make a move // It’s all on you,” on the absolute earworm of a chorus. It is the audio embodiment of trying to play it cool as your stomach fills with butterflies when that special someone passes through your view, complete with Ahomari trying to convince themself, “It’s just a cru-U-u-U-u-sh.” It’s a tender and beautiful track; Ahomari and Tapari’s airy autoned hum washes over you, bringing the nostalgic jitters of every crush you ever had back with it.
Ahomari’s music has a way of transporting you to the world they inhabit: the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the fun and the annoying. Girl Kiss II is a tape full of queer slow jams that encompass the multitude of feelings that come with being Black, gender non-conforming, and in love in South Carolina. Ahomari opens “My Vibe” with their buttery smooth voice warning the people in their DMs not to waste their time. Ahomari is sick and tired of playing these silly little games and taunts their potential lover right back, cooing, “You- you know it // You know what you want,” teasing them to come catch their vibe tonight, before Eric Fury a little more bluntly comes in with, “Don’t play with me baby just bring that ass.” The two have a fantastic dynamic with Ahomari playing the Weeknd to Eric Fury’s Drake over the bouncing aquatic beat.
The self-described “Black queer siren of the South,” Ahomari has garnered a reputation in their local South Carolina scene as a rebel rouser, calling out bullshit of all kinds wherever and whenever they see it. Ahomari makes sexually liberated music for people who hold themselves and the communities they occupy to those same standards. They are down for a good time as long as everyone is on the same page. As their output becomes more prolific Ahomari is starting to make waves outside of their native state. Taphari had heard “Crush” on a twitter snippet after all and was so impressed he immediately asked if he could hop on the track. Ahomari has similarly caught the ear of Quiet Year Records, who are putting out Girl Kiss II on cassette and whose Richmond based community Ahomari credits with helping them better understand themself. As Ahomari is appreciative for the communities that helped them become who they are today, I can imagine this album being eye opening for vulnerable Black queer southerners who don’t have the community to understand their own personal struggle. Girl Kiss II is an entrancing escapist fantasy about how love could and should be, and we could not be more excited for the universes Ahomari takes us to next.