Virginia OmarTheGroove put out one of the more diverse projects last year in “Before It Gets Better”. The seven track project features a gang of features in Bri, Young Baby Tate, Koi Kurama & Falen. I had a chance to speak with OmarTheGroove on the creative process of “Before It Gets Better”, Virginia hip-hop and what’s coming next for the artist.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is OmarTheGroove?
OMARtheGroove: OMARtheGroove is simply a young MC from VA trying to a legacy that will withstand the test of time based on the merits of the music I give the world. Always aspiring to find that perfect balance between emotion and thoughtfulness; lyricism and melody; experimentation and structure.
DEHH: I’ve been blessed enough to talk to a couple other artists from Virginia, tell me about the scene out there and how you fit into it?
OTG: Virginia is a super diverse place when we’re talking about what it offers musically. For those who aren’t from the Commonwealth, its easy to assume that the state as a whole can all be lumped together and has one overarching culture but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You have the 757, which is the most established area that has spawned legends like the Neptunes, Missy, Timbaland, the list goes on. You have Richmond, which has given us artists like Divine Council, Skillz, Nickelus F, and D’Angelo. Finally, you have the Northern Virginia area which is where I’m from.
I personally feel like we have the most to prove since we don’t yet have that identifiable star that has broken through waving the NoVA flag. The only person I know of from the area that has really made strides is Kali Uchis, but most people just assume she’s from LA. We also often get lumped in with the larger DMV area, while our more southern counterparts shun that label so it puts us in a really weird position identity-wise. I will say over the past couple years we’ve started to see more artists and movements start to gain traction and I’m just doing my part to contribute to the scene as much as I possibly can.
DEHH: Let’s jump into the music, how did the idea for “Before It Gets Better” come about? What were some of things that influenced this project?
OTG: The project I release before this one in 2016 was darker content and sonic-wise, so I decided I wanted to go the complete opposite route for the next one. So with that in mind I just started writing songs and gathering beats that matched the feeling I was going for and ideas started coming to me. I picked up pretty early on the recording process that a lot of my best records were about women and my past experiences with them. I simply decided to continue down that path, and it ultimately led me to the idea of crafting the entire project around that.
DEHH: Despite being an EP, if feel you like you really tapped into your potential on this, giving us an array of sounds & flows, what did you want to show people on this?
OTG: When it comes to how I present my art, I basically like to reverse-engineer the process. I thought about how I consume music, the type of music I like to hear, and how I could best replicate that process for anyone who came across my music. I personally love projects that are concise, meaningful, sonically diverse, and have a high replayability factor. I wanted to demonstrate to any listener that came across this project that I’m a multi-faceted artist that can present a story in a unique way that will have you constantly revisiting it while also wanting more.
DEHH: The collaborations on this I felt added to the diversity of the EP, you naturally held your own but you also meshed well with everyone on the record. What was it like creating this record and working with all these artists?
OTG: When I decided to make the album about women, I knew I needed to incorporate the feminine touch in order for it to feel authentic. Time and time again it’s been proven that women are the largest consumers of music, and I feel like too often in hip hop men are talking about women and not to them. I made the conscious decision to involve women in the creative process because it just felt like it was necessary in order to effectively tell the story. I did a lot of research and as I started coming up with these songs I reached out to female artists that I felt would best compliment the song. They were all super helpful and when I broke down the overall theme of the project that usually found it to be refreshing and were open to contribute in any way they could. Big shoutout to Bri, Koi Kurama, Yung Baby Tate, and Falen; without these women there’s no way I would’ve been able to bring my vision to life.
DEHH: When people are done with “Before It Gets Better” what do you want them to walk away with?
OTG: I honestly just want the listener to walk away with a satisfied feeling of “Wow that was dope as hell, I gotta run that back.” If I didn’t present you with something you’ve never come across before then I feel like I didn’t do my job properly.
DEHH: This may too early to ask but what can we expect from you in 2018? Will we see you on stage and on tour?
OTG: This year I plan to keep the momentum going. More songs, more visuals and ultimately more shows, plain and simple.