First, he played Downtown, competing with panhandlers. "I figured I might as well stretch out and give those cats some space." He took his act down Wilshire and over near the Beverly Center. Then he migrated to the Valley.
He knows that people wonder whether he's homeless, but Abdullah says he rents a place in Sherman Oaks. He makes enough with his music to pay his bills and he seems content with playing above the roar of the freeway. The other day, he says, a gopher snake came out from the underbrush, as if intrigued. Afraid of stepping on his new fan--and of himself taking a spill as well--Abdullah tossed some pebbles to shoo the snake back under the brush.