OMEHGA – Hip-Hop’s One Man Army

Today we sit down with OMEHGA, a Hip-Hop artist from Atlanta, Georgia who has shared the stage with acts like Naughty by Nature, can speak Japanese, has performed all over the world and is now opening his own production company in Dubai. He is a talented, photographer, artist, poet and has a large following and great success due to his grassroots approach and one man army approach.

ESMC:

OMEHGA stands for One Man Evolved Having Gained Awareness. What would you say is the most valuable lesson on your journey that you have learned?

OMEHGA:

I consider my artistic journey different from the personal journey even though they work together in parallel. I’ve learned that possessing a level of pride that is beyond reproach can be cancerous in our lives. Effective regulation of this is paramount. Artistically, I would love to touch the ears of millions, but finding satisfaction in what I create is more important to me than popularity gained if I ‘go with the flow.’ In one of my unreleased songs, “Breathe,” I have a couple of bars that touch on this thought:

“I could drop a thousand songs, and not a one sell

Supports collateral, I started writing for myself.”

Gaining support and fame is secondary and a bonus to the love and satisfaction I feel when I write and complete projects.

ESMC:

Well said OMEHGA, we agree the art must come first. The journey of Hip-Hop is now becoming more and more documented through television, books, on Netflix or through movies. Which element of Hip-Hop culture in your opinion has changed the most since it’s beginning? 

OMEHGA:

The distribution process. It has become so much easier to record and distribute music and content. However, this has caused a heavy saturation in the market. It’s easier to be heard, but more difficult on another level.

Nevertheless, I would still rate this element as better now, than it was before. Everyone has an equal chance, Chance the Rapper is a prime example. No pun intended.

ESMC:

Definitely agree. With so many services available now it’s impossible not to get heard on your own. But it’s still difficult to play with big acts and you’ve shared the stage with many Hip-Hop legends. Artists like Biz Markie, Goodie Mob, De La Soul, among others, but can you tell us about your experience opening up for Naughty by Nature?

OMEHGA:

Well, all of those were terrific events and occurred during my years in Japan. I had “Popeyes” chicken with Goodie Mob after a soundcheck. Cee-Lo didn’t make that trip, but T-Mo and Gip held it down. De La Soul rode around in my car with me in Okinawa. As for Naughty by Nature, I didn’t get to see them. I was working (a firefighter in the US Air Force) and was permitted to leave my shift to make the performance, but had to return to duty immediately after. That aside, the crowd was amazing! The energy in the place was surreal. Times I will never forget from an era where SnapChat and Instagram Live were simply called “our memory.” LMAO!

ESMC:

That’s awesome to have those experiences we’re sorry you didn’t get to hang out with Naughty by Nature. Positive artists like that are an example of what can be achieved with a strong mind. However, do you feel that the media misrepresents hip-hop? For example artists like Q-Tip, Blackalicious, Roots and yourself educate and even motivate people. Do you think that aspect is covered or is it more of a negative image?

OMEHGA:

I can’t believe you just used a comparison with those artists and my name. WoW. Umm, of course. People don’t care about the truth when a lie is much more entertaining. The media is motive-based and popularity driven. Always pay attention to who owns the networks you are listening to and then look at what and how the stories come out. It will recalibrate your perspective or maybe give you an entirely new one. I think that we can focus on the negative of anything and make it fit an agenda. I’m sure we can name many movies oversaturated with violence and crime, but I can’t recall a news segment that points to those films or television shows as the cause of like behavior in the real-world. Off the top, I have heard it about rap music, the “Grand Theft Auto” video game franchise and I believe there is a show on Netflix, “13 Reasons Why”, that got a taste of blame. The culture breeds so much beauty, creativity and positivity. It all depends on who you are talking to and what they choose to speak about.

ESMC:

When you said “People don’t care about the truth when a lie is much more entertaining. The media is motive-based and popularity driven.” It’s clear that you’re in tune and in touch with what’s happening in the world. Who know’s where we are headed, but where is Hip-Hop going?

OMEHGA:

I wish I knew. That’s the beauty of such a diverse culture; you never know what will happen next. Hip-Hop has always had something for everyone. If anyone tries to speak against that, tell them to look around at the international influence it has placed on all genres and various countries. I say that has someone that has lived in 9 countries and visited more than 50 in the last 21 years. Hip-Hop is growing up right in front of our eyes, and it’s a beautiful sight. I love being a part of it from my small corner of the world.

ESMC:

We’ve discussed where Hip-Hop is going but let’s talk a little about where you’ve been and where you’re going. Your music has taken you around the world, Japan, the Caribbean and the Middle-east. Out of all of these places what was the most memorable performance for you?

OMEHGA:

Japan. There is a love there for hip hop culture that one would not imagine if they had to guess. From underground rap battles to Japanese men and women with dreadlocks at reggae fests. Whether it’s Gwen Stefani or the Wu-Tang Clan, the energy is always real in Japan. The most memorable performance would be a toss-up between opening for Naughty by Nature and KC & JoJo. I lived there from 1997-2003. It’s where I got my amateur start, so it holds a special place in my heart.

ESMC:

Out of all the countries you’ve been to we heard you can speak Japanese. When did you start learning how to speak Japanese and why?

OMEHGA:

It all began in 1998 in Okinawa. It took a good year to be able to hold a conversation. As a young firefighter, my supervisor said he saw great potential in me, but I wasn’t the only one and should find a way to make an impact. Our fire department was half Japanese and half American. Classes would take a long time because the instructor had to speak and often have someone translate in Japanese. I figured if I could learn Japanese and get my instructor certification, I could be more useful to the fire department and deliver training in both languages. Therefore, saving the government time and money; that’s the epitome of impact in any government. I never took classes. I would get books, practice every chance I got and watched children television shows equivalent to Sesame Street so I could learn the proper way to speak.

ESMC:

That’s very impressive. I feel I could chat to you all day and just keep learning something new. You obviously enjoy learning and growing. As part of that growth we understand that you are starting a production company. Do you plan to stick with your music once you get your production company open in Dubai or do you plan to be more like Dr. Dre or P. Diddy?

OMEHGA:

I will always stick with the music and my poetry. Its a part of me. However, my company will focus on much more. Photography for products and advertisements, promotional videography, music production will be a part of it as well amongst other things production related. There is no ceiling on what could come from all of this, who knows what is next…

ESMC:

Very cool, very cool indeed. It’s clear that you’ve always had a lot of drive but has your son motivated you to be more business minded?

OMEHGA:

My son motivates me to be the father he can look up to, realize his potential and aspire to be better than me as he is becoming his own man. I don’t consider myself business-minded; I am more goal oriented.

ESMC:

OMEHGA, your goal oriented attitude in our opinion is what has got you to where you are. You conduct yourself professionally and are involved in all aspects of social media, artwork and music creation. You also acknowledge that luck has played a role in your success. What would you say to up-and-coming poets/lyricists who aspire to be in your position? (Is it all luck, or start grinding?)

OMEHGA:

Let your passion drive you, but keep common sense in the passenger seat. There is no formula. There are no magic steps. Don’t follow the crowd; be yourself. It takes constant awareness of your surroundings that are always changing.

Most importantly, pay attention to the company you keep. I believe in energy. If you are always the smartest person in the room, you might need to change it up a bit. As for luck, I would not rely on it, but I guess “right place at the right time” never hurt anyone…

ESMC:

As a Hip-Hop lyricist would you say that freestyle is similar to that of an early Be-Bop player like Charlie Parker? And if so, are there phrases that you use in each of your freestyles?

OMEHGA:

Charlie Parker, that was not a reference I would have expected, but I get it. As a fan of jazz, I feel that it is an emotional genre. As for those that freestyle, “off the top,” it’s about the moment. Very similar to jazz bands that play into the night and feed off one another…so in my opinion, yes. However, I don’t hold much of a presence in the freestyle crowd. I started out that way but quickly fell in love with taking the time to write and articulate the way I wanted to convey my messages.

ESMC:

What album showcases your talent the best and when is your next album coming out?

OMEHGA:

I would say that my most recent album, The Reintroduction. The title is literal as I re-emerged in 2016 as an artist and each song on that EP was supposed to reflect my versatility. Even the single that came shortly after, “Turbulence,” stepped into another form of delivery. It was a reintroduction to me “now” versus several years ago and how I’ve grown as a songwriter and rapper.

I would like to release my next album by the end of 2018. I may release a single and a video from it first and do something like a New Year rollout. Who knows?! I handle my distribution so, with a click or two…it could be in your hands at any time. I know that most artists feel their next song is their best song, but this album will indeed be the most potent project I have ever put together. Others will come, but this one will touch me. Let’s have another chat when I decide to release it.

ESMC:

Where is your favorite place to go record shopping and who are you currently listening to?

OMEHGA:

I have to admit, most of it is online these days. So, the location isn’t a physical one, but I frequently use Tidal and SoundCloud most at the moment. As for who I am listening to in hip-hop… J. Cole, Jay-Z, Torey Lanez, Kevin Grant, Kendrick Lamar…some Drake here and there. But it all depends on my mood. The Temptations, Kenny G, Ed Sheeran, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, LeAnn Rimes can all be found in my playlists.

ESMC:

It’s been great chatting with you. Where’s the best place to grab a morning coffee in Atlanta, Georgia?

OMEHGA:

Likewise, thank you for taking an interest in me and giving me the chance to ramble on. It’s been my pleasure.

Panera Bread is good. Scratch the coffee though, make your way to Chick-Fil-A. I don’t get down with fast foods, but Chick-Fil-A is different. I believe if the USDA discovered cocaine was an ingredient in their chicken batter, the government would probably legalize it. I’m sure those that eat it know what I mean.

This has been an interview with Atlanta, Georgia’s OMEHGA, be sure to check him out here on Spotify.

The Eclectic Social Music Club

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