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Friday, August 12, 2022

Music

Review: Rap artist finds inspiration for motivation


SherifOmotunwashe

Three years ago, graphic design junior Sherif Omotunwashe released a mixtape, “Artist Rendition,” that was created by cultural influences and musical inspirations. | Courtesy of Sherif Omotunwashe

Born and raised in Houston, an ambitious hip-hop artist emerges to advance his music to the next level.

Graphic design junior Sherif Omotunwashe released his mixtape “Artist Rendition” three years ago, marking the first cohesive project that he completed following a string of smaller works before he actually began to take music seriously.

Omotunwashe never had the opportunity to promote this mixtape and push it out to the community, since he gave up rapping shortly afterwards.

As of now, however, his inspiration is back, and this revisit is a prelude to Omotunwashe’s future work that he has been perfecting for the past couple of months.

“I would like to think of my music as ‘music for the soul,'” Omotunwashe said. “I’m not trying to preach to you or tell you what the right thing is. I just talk about problems in my life in hopes that you can all relate to it.”

The mixtape opens with the title track, “Artist Rendition,” instantly asserting the theme for the project with the subtle and coffee-shop-esque female vocal background in contrast with Omotunwashe’s smooth but confident narration.

“My main inspiration behind this mixtape was Lauryn Hill and Kanye West. I love the way he made his ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album sound like a movie,” Omotunwashe said. “I was just observing the world and writing down my take on situations. That’s how this mixtape actually got started.”

His skill in wordplay is quite evident, such as when he utilizes the multiple definitions of “deserts” throughout the course of just a couple of bars. He continues by filling the song with a solid rhyming scheme, clever metaphors and some well-placed double entendres.

The entire album follows a soulful and relaxing vibe, compounded with a steady flow and thought-provoking lyrics. Notable songs include “Happy Birthday,” “The Ending,” “Nobody” and “The Battle.”

“The Ending” is embellished with a melodic piano background, and Omotunwashe emotes his somber feeling about his relationship in a way that connects with listeners and allows them to relate to his words.

He continues this feeling of melancholy with the next track, “Nobody,” and continues to display a deep understanding of album continuity and succeeds in his desire to create a cinematic feel for his mixtape, causing the listener to create a mental story that connects all of his songs into one cohesive unit.

Omotunwashe ends his mixtape with “The Battle,” which begins with a monologue featuring a woman speaking about “conquering the enemy in yourself” in order to deal with anyone standing in the way of your dreams and the fact that, in order to accomplish that, you must be “humiliated, kicked and beaten.”

This track is fantastic and is about feeling the motivation to keep going. Omotunwashe references Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream, the epitome of ambition and aspiration, which can be applied to his desire to get his word out and make a difference in the hip-hop world and himself.

The added layer of sound that can be interpreted as an old vinyl record or cassette tape leads the listener to regard Omotunwashe as an artist who will be remembered and listened to for years.

“I want to create my own lane in rap. I want to be remembered for my lyricism, but I want to be legendary for my ability to create music,” Omotunwashe said. “The way I put a song together and the feeling it gives you when you listen — I feel like there are plenty of rappers who say their music is soulful, but not a lot of them do it right.”

“Artist Rendition” track listing

  1. Artist Rendition (feat. Nick)
  2. As Cool As I (feat. Ohbeeswice)
  3. Let Loose
  4. Happy Birthday
  5. Old School (feat. Mahem Monroe, Ducey Duce)
  6. Interlude
  7. The Beginning (feat. Simone)
  8. The Ending (feat. Simone)
  9. Nobody
  10. Change
  11. The Battle

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