Abdul Mateen was born in Harlem, NY and was raised in Harlem and Queens. He began his musical study at the age of 8 and experienced and acquired many artistic styles. His instrumental expressions started with the violin and include the saxophone, guitar, piano, drums and vocals. Mateen performed with several seasoned professionals and top recording artists such as Tom Brown, Roy Haynes, Roy Ayres, Lonnie Liston Smith, Wire Lindo & I Performers and more.
The ensemble was founded by Mateen in 1983. “Turn I Up” was released in 1987 (Calder Records) and “Racism” was released in 1990 (Bignoise). “Psalm of David” followed in 1995 (Maasai and I Production/T-Black Production). Modeled after the Quincy Jones “We Are the World” success, MAASAI also participated in the Rhode Island Band Wagon 3 sides of Hunger benefit album, 1986. MAASAI has toured up and down the East Coast with the most recent stint in Southern Florida.
Following are comments about Maasai performances:
“Awesome percussion. Drums that takes the excitement level right off the scope. Abdul Mateen – as good as they come. Exquisite singer”.
-Valerie Ridenour, Key West, Florida
“Keeping the faith, MAASAI front man Abdul Mateen took Marley’s message to heart. Legendary Wailers supported by opening acts Bigga and Maasai is sure to be one of the biggest reggae fest on the island this year. Rasta resisting oppression – tradition of oral communication.”
-Terry, The Citizen, Key West
“To elevate, to inspire, to inform, to educate – Roots-Reliance On Ourselves to Strive.”
-Diane Almeida, Providence American
“Pulse of the people”
“Invigorating with no weak links in sound or message. MAASAI on Earth Day – perfect!”
-Michael Caito, Providence Phoenix
“Red, Gold and Green” – Song of praise to Jah – a surging reggae march, powered by Mateen’s husky voice. I Know Paradise is a lovely soul-inflected song. Mateen’s falsetto is calming and tuneful, a balm for frayed nerves”.
-Mike Boehm, LA Times