REVIEW: Omni – Burgundy Brown

Burgundy Brown

Artist: Omni

Album: Burgundy Brown

Label: BLX Records

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Reviewer: R.Stewart

‘To be, or not to be’ : in a posse, that is. The age-old question (some might call it a problem) of hip hop and its aspirants. You’re looking to break big as an artists, or break, period, and you have the chance to fall in with a camp or collective of artists. Group acclaim, when and if it follows, can be a double-edged sword: all the bonuses of recognition, while often times making an artist anonymous. Even when you finally get a chance to drop your solo effort, the results are more than likely to be, shall we say, less than warmly received (members of NWA, Wu, et. al, notwithstanding).

Next to test these dangerous waters is Omni, a member of the Gershwin BassLine Xcursionists (B.L.X.) camp, along with Crag Malkovich, MOLMan, Sklim Milx, ABCDEFG and DJ See Brown. Having already been heavily featured on B.L.X.’s “Sunch Punch”, and on the heels of 2001’s Funkdafied Freddy, Omni is shining on his own with “Burgundy Brown”. And don’t fear, this solo project is more Ghostface than U-God, to very satisfying effect.

Featuring production from members of B9000 Powerhouse out of Belgium, as well as guest spots from his fellow B.L.X. compatriots, this LP runs as an ideal companion to the earlier group album. Starting with tracks like ‘American African’ with Earganic interpolating what sounds like an African children’s choir on the hook, Omni shines over an assortment of beats that never overwhelm his voice, but remind the listener of time spent in a jazz poetry cafe, listening to grooves being laid down as accompaniment, rather than lead. Not quite party music, but the emphasis here rests squarely on Omni’s lyricism. Tracks like ‘Wait’ and ‘Music’ are delivered confidently, with Omni using the tracks to his advantage as he drops rhymes that range from inspirational to braggadocio.

There are even a couple of lovely extras for the instrumentally inclined. Tucked at the back end of ‘Wait’ is nearly a minute of instrumental, riding out after a snippet of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’. There’s also a two minute standalone long jazz instrumental, produced by Leggo, anchored by a double bass line.

It’s not a perfect album, though. ‘Amores Perros’ is tanked by a grating chorus of Omni chanting “Ay, Ay, Ayyy : Ay carumba”, and lyrics that sometimes stray towards incomprehensibility. The closing track, ‘Until Tomorrow’ is ambiguously reassuring and depressing at once; a strange way to end a strong set, if ever there was one. However, the quality in other spots overrides what few shortcomings might be present.

Overall, Omni is representing B.L.X. and himself quite well on this one : maybe it’s something in that West Coast water, because those camps are putting out strong group and solo work at a clip that puts some other regions to shame. A solid buy for those looking for quality; listen to the man, ‘Titan Up’ and cop good music.

One Reply to “REVIEW: Omni – Burgundy Brown”

  1. Be on the look out for the 3rd album to drop by Omni. The album “BALLYHOO” drops Jan 24th 2006!!!

    You don’t want to miss out on this Los Angeles native’s third release. Omni blends all of his influences with his distinctive baritone, Cali twang, and a universal, wide-lens outlook on life to create a sound perfectly befitting of his name. Equal parts street and lyrical, b-boy and conscious, Omnis enjoys a reputation as real hip-hops best-kept secret among those in the know.

    Ballyhoo is the third album from Los Angeles emcee Omni. It is slated for a January 24th release on LA-based indie imprint Ariel Records (www.arielrecords.com) with distribution through Kajmere Music (www.ksdmusic.com). A core member of the infamous Los Angeles hip-hop crew Gershwin BLX Omni has put in the work of emcees twice his age, dropping albums independently across the world purely off the sweat of his brow, touring absolutely non-stop, and devoting his life to the pen and the microphone. Ballyhoo is an audio celebration of the worlds of experience he has gained over the course of his five-year-plus career, and his official initiation alongside the West Coast heavyweights that preceded him. Mikah Nine of the incomparable Freestyle Fellowship blesses the opening track Back At It, while Fatlip, long-lost star member of the original Pharcyde, returns from the dead for Feel How I Feel. Wildchild of Lootpack fame slides through for the steamy Daily Hustle, and Luckyiam.psc of the Living Legends lays a slippery sixteen over Trademark. BLX members Sklim Milx and Molmaniak check in for the loping Coca-Cola, Ali Abnormal and Universal hover over the menacing Mind Of A Madman, Vinyl Junkies affiliate Pudge lends some wisdom to Never, and up-and-coming LA producer Earganic ties the whole package up with a litany of beats that manage to be raw and polished at the same time. Its the passing of the West Coast torch old to the new, and Ballyhoo is the record at the epicenter of that transition.

    To listen to some tracks from Ballyhoo, visit http://www.omniblx.com.
    For more information on DDPR and its current roster, feel free to visit http://www.dunndealpr.com.

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