Whoever said hip hop is dead was definitely looking in all the wrong places. Only in his mid-20s, Omni already presents himself as a seasoned veteran on his latest musical masterpiece, ‘Batterie.’ At the age of 17, the ‘California Kid’ became a part of Los Angeles’ BLX Crew, a legendary group on the underground hip hop scene. He released his first solo album, ‘Ballyhoo,’ in 2001, and has been creating music and touring internationally ever since.
His fourth album, ‘Batterie,’ shows that Omni’s experience has not been wasted. ‘Batterie’ is a hip hop fan’s goldmine, with tracks that appeal to a wider audience than his previous CDs ‘Funkdafied Freddy’ and ‘Burgundy Brown.’
Although Omni was raised in Los Angeles, the CD was produced entirely in Australia, with artists and producers from the Obese Records crew, and features artists such as Hilltop Hoods, JC & JB, Draupadi, Layla and Porsah Laine, HyJak, ThaBeloved and even California’s own underground superstar Aceyalone.
Omni’s fluid, skillful raps and old-school break beats are a breath of fresh air. The CD opens up with the hard-hitting ‘Batterie,’ which is reminiscent of Grandmaster Flash’s classic ‘White Lines.’
The rest of the album continues in perfect fluidity, with chilled-out beats and flows that put mainstream radio hip hop to shame. Although it is classified as ‘hip hop/drum and bass,’ don’t be fooled; ‘Batterie’ features plenty of quality instrumentals in songs like ‘Bang the Drum’ and ‘Boost’ that break away from the typically percussion-dominated the drum and bass genre.
All of the artists featured on the CD live up to expectations, delivering complementary performances to Omni’s dynamic raps. The energetic track ‘Calm Yourself’ showcases Porsah Laine’s Australian accent, which makes for some forceful rhymes that may send Lady Sovereign running. Her lyrics are also a nice addition to Layla’s smooth background vocals.
Fellow California native Aceyalone makes a memorable appearance on ‘Golden,’ in which the two rappers take it back to the West Coast underground.
Each song has a different feel without losing the overall consistency. Head-nodding highlights include the Latin-inspired ‘Bang the Drum’ and ‘Crazy in Love,’ which is not to be mistaken for anything by Beyonc