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Album Review: Marince Omario Charts His Path on “Oblitey”

Marince Omario describes himself in an interesting manner: “a musical creative and my music seeks to inspire and motivate the youth all the while promoting Ga traditional culture and lifestyle“. Marince knows himself and what he wants to do, especially with his music. His ability to reflect his culture in songs is what “Oblitey“, his latest 5-track EP embodies.

In an era where afropop or anything with a semblance of the genre happens to be the way to go, Marince Omario deviates from that popular template. The music on “Oblitey” is mellow, jazzy, soulful; shifting between crooning and rapping without losing its glowing touch. The music on the EP cascades between afro-soul and hip hop. Tales about life, the lessons it presents and the challenges one must surmount are the themes that inundates “Oblitey”.

My introduction to Marince Omario came by way of “Oxford St”. The single was simply contagious. The production was laid back and soulful. With his sing-rap style, Marince splurges the record with anecdotes of his life on the famous Osu Oxford Street where life is considered a “gamble, you can’t lose to a fool“. He succeeds in capturing both the vibrancy and the cosmopolitan nature of the street. He shows another side of his versatility on “Mafia”, a rap song with a homiletical tone.

The art of storytelling is not lost on “Oblitey”, glimpses was exhibited on both “Oxford St” and “Mafia”. Love, rejection, family expectations are explored with a tone of sincerity and grace. On the opening song “Coast”, Marince Omario renders a sad tale about heartbreak. Adjeley, his ex left him due to his poor economic status. “I’ll be great” and “My name go be all over the place“, he raps, offering an indication of a remarkable future ahead.

Pegged on trap-soul reverbs, “Nshor Ke” has Marince detailing why he has to work hard to make a living through fishing; the traditional source of livelihood for people living by the shore. As the first child, the onus to cater for himself and his family lies on him. Oblitey, in Ga custom, is a name given to a first male child. In his typical sing-rap style, he indicates “family pressure be weighing me so I’m on the streets now…I gotta fish now”. Now, it’s interesting how “fish” carries a double meaning – one, referring to his trade and the other, the bounty from his hustle. “Mama gotta see smile“, the last bar underscores the motive behind his actions.

An excellent exercise in song sequencing helps in making an album worth listening. How narratives fold into another coupled with the tone of the production fosters a unison that elevates an album above others. In TheFlowerpapi (on “The Coast”), WaveBeats (on “Nshor Ke”), Joker Nharnah (on “Oxford St”), Nocturnal (on “Ramblers”) and Kokhe (on “Drill”), Marince Omario was afforded the perfect soundscape to weave a cohesive body of work as exemplified by the transition between ”Nshor Ke” and ”Oxford St’. The piano chords at the end of “Nshor Ke” seamlessly opened “Oxford St”. The transition would not have been noticeable if not for that pregnant pause before the beginning of “Oxford St.”

On the two remaining songs, “Ramblers” and “Drill”, the tone changes from soulful to trap sound. “Ramblers” is a tale about going to get it (“We been trapping/We be grinding“). Oozing with an infectious bounce and 808 kicks, Marince hit his low notes remarkably well. Listening to him on this record brings Kwesi Arthur on “Live From Nkrumah Krom”.

Marince Omario could not have put out any better debut tape than “Oblitey”. The song sequencing aside, the themes covered, his incredible ability to sing and rap without a hint of struggle, his decision to perform most of the songs in his native language of Ga, confirms one thing: Marince Omario is charting his own path without trying to fit in. As time has proven, artists with a sense of authenticity and a clear direction are the ones who run the race the longest. Marince Omario is definitely on that path.

Listen to Oblitey : Album Link

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