I remember leaving the Dollar & Dream tour line when J. Cole came to town because my sisters and I had been waiting for a long time and the doors had not even opened to updated us. So we jumped back in my 1998 Toyota Camry and took off full of anger until one block away from the venue I take a look in my rearview and notice a tall light-skin man wearing a Super Monkin Fiends t-shirt. I yell to my sisters “Yo, that’s Omen!!” I hit brakes and park somewhere illegally, I jump out the whip and run over. We chat for a second, we take a photo and I go on my way.
Listening to Omen’s latest record, the highly anticipated “Elephant Eyes,” I take notice of how humble he truly is. Listeners will instantly realize that this album is not about wordplay and punchlines. This album is about stories, stories that a lot of people can relate to.
Elephant Eyes shows just how talented Omen is as a complete artist. Omen produced 9 out of the 11 tracks on the album. To top his production ability he goes on to fully write all the songs, aside from Bas and J. Cole’s verses of course.
One of my favorite parts of the project is how Omen resourcefully uses slick samples and multiple backing female vocals throughout the songs. That technique makes the sound cohesive as a whole and allows the tracks to flowingly transition into one another. He also minimizes the features on the project, the best feature on the album was Ari Lennox. Her role on “Sweat It Out” is riveting, her voice is simply intoxicating. She gives off a Elle Varner-esc sound while still being herself.
Omen’s use of unique samples for skits was ingenious, “Bella Mafia Quackafella Records” cracked me up so much I had go back and watch the old youtube clip. The Rocky Balboa sample was A1, many mixtape rappers have tried to use the motivational clip from the last Rocky movie as skits in their projects but usually it’s executed poorly. It’s executed poorly because typically the background instrumental to the scene bleeds through the actual beat to the song. Omen decided to one up that by having Dreamville and Interscope exclusively acquire the vocals to that speech from the film and lay it over a smooth beat.
“Big Shadows” is the best song on the album without a doubt. The story is incredibly vivid and honest. It also has one of the more catchy hooks on the album.
“Remember spliff star? remember Memphis Bleek? remember all them sidekicks that ain’t what’s meant for me / Big shadows, I think i need more sun, big shadows, big shadows / Remember Lil Cee’s? remember Murphy Lee? No disrespect is meant but dawg that ain’t what’s meant for me / Big shadows, I think i need more sun, big shadows, big shadows.”
I honestly like the song even more because the unintentional motifs behind it. This song reminds me of J. Cole a lot! You know, the Sidelines Stories Jermaine. The one that was tired of people comparing him to Memphis Bleek because he was under Jay-Z. The irony becomes that he supersedes Bleek and now his sidekick also doesn’t want to be Memphis Bleek. Maybe it’s just my dry sense of humor, but does anyone have love for Memphis Bleek ?
It’s easy to recommend this album to ANYBODY who was bumping The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights and even The Sideline Stories. But I’d recommend this to anyone who likes storytelling, honesty and smooth music. This isn’t one of those albums you can listen to whenever and wherever, but it is one you can vibe to and probably bring up old memories (good or bad) that resonate from the lyrics. Dreamville may be onto something, this whole “I’m gonna make an album without singles and drop it last minute with little promo” agenda has been pretty successful.