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Nowadays few rappers are still able to engage with meaningful, current texts that aspire to more than how many women the rapper has brought to bed. Omar Offendum is this and much more.
Omar Offendum, a story behind
The first characteristic of a rapper is to be someone, without a story all the pieces are simple vocal exercise, both trivial and not very useful. The story of Omar, not surprisingly, is one of the most particular ever heard. He was born in Saudi Arabia in 1981 to a Syrian family, who, when Omar is still young, moved to Washington in the United States. He was then sent to study first at the Islamic Saudi Academy and then at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, since 2003 he moved to Los Angeles to work as an architect, singer and poet. Not bad I would say.
Also in this Omar Offendum turns out to be one of the most interesting subjects of the entire Arab-American musical panorama. In 2010 he launched his first album on Spotify: Syrianamericana, still one of the few albums where ALL the songs work and aim to tell as well as entertain. The themes are more varied because Omar talks about his history and that experienced by those around him. In Destiny, for example, the main theme is immigration and the difficult conflict between the eastern and western soul:
Its hard livin in the West – when I know the East got the best of me
In “Damascus” instead he reflects on the conditions of Syria and in “Mother’s Day” he quotes Umm Kulthum and in “Superhero” he talks about an “Arab superhero” and what it would take for his community to get up again.
The pieces of Omar Offendum, however, are not only beautiful lyrics, the sound is American to the core and very reminiscent of old school rap but with incredible choristers and a certain variation of rhythm and instruments. His ability to speak, first in English and then in Arabic, keeping both the right rhythm, is to be applauded. I remember when I started listening to him: I was at a reception center with friends who worked there, as soon as I put Omar all the boys in the center immediately started to exercise, warmed up by the rhythm and the fact of mixing East and West, Arab and American.
Omar Offendum is a rapper who may or may not like he but surely cannot be ignored. His story and skill make him one of the few examples of artist rappers still around today. Legendary.
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