Essentials: Oma Mahmud’s ‘PINK’ album explores hip-hop’s tender nerve

Rebuffing hypermasculinity in hip-hop

Though his latest project is tagged as ‘Alternative’, Oma Mahmud’s catalogue—including three EPs and a handful of singles—makes him one of the more accessible emerging rappers in Nigeria. Though previous projects have not been as extended, it allowed him to experiment with his music and redefine his sound while also building a community of fans with features from some of the more renowned acts in today’s pop scene. The result of his efforts manifests on his debut album, PINK.

The trend for innovation in music is for artists to come along and break genre expectations, as well as redefine what’s possible with music.

Oma Mahmud’s PINK attempts emotional vulnerability with a confessional style narrative that appears to express his deepest feelings. Don’t be fooled by his hard delivery on the album’s acapella intro-track, “New Dawn”, PINK is anything but gangster. Pre-released single, “Truth” featuring BarelyAnyHook already hinted at this with the line, “Is It Really Love That You Want From Me/ I’ve Had A Hard Time Trusting Please”.

Some of the intended alternativeness for PINK surfaces on the Fasina assisted “X & Os”, a soulful track that puts Oma Mahmud his feels again, as he raps over a piano-led instrumental he produces himself. “Calling” featuring Tomi Thomas and King Mufasa continues the pattern of lyrical emotiveness over the layers of synths Mvgic Soul produces.

The production on tracks like “Hurting” show Oma Mahmud’s flair for experimentation, and comfort with synths and dancehall harmonies. But while Iambeatz produces a radio-friendly EDM influenced beat, Oma Mahmud’s wrought-with-tension vocals are less than traditional dancehall jam than a plea for help. Wavy The Creator and Bris B assisted “Pegasus” is similarly dance inclined with lots of synths but this time Oma Mahmud manages to get a few rap bars into the ambient mix highlighted by Wavy’s sultry vocals.

PINK highlights the evolution in hip-hop and other genres that fuse with other sounds for more accessibility. Oma’s has ventured into Caribbean sounds with previous projects like the Interlude EP, but his debut album combines all his influences(hip-hop, trap, EDM and Afropop) while highlighting his tendecy for depth.

You can stream PINKk below.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/omamahmud

You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

ICYMI: BarelyAnyHook shows out on Oma Mahmud’s dancehall heavy “Truth”