Being one of the pioneers of UK Soul, with over thirty years of service, and appointed with an MBE, Omar is regarded a national treasure. When Stevie Wonder says in an interview that he wants to be just like Omar when he grows up, is further confirmation of the incredible artist Omar is.
Returning with his eighth studio album, Love in Beats is a collection of songs that are signature Omar, with more hip hop inflections, Dilla-esque vibes, fusing West African and Caribbean sounds, alongside Omar’s jazz-inspired, bass driven music. On production is Omar’s brother, Grammy Award winning producer Scratch Professor, who remixed Omar’s 2013 album The Man, calling it The Man Retwisted in 2015. Opening the album with “Vicky’s Tune” featuring Ty and Robert Glasper, we get the first taste of how his collaborations never overshadow his style, they in fact, contribute to it, and all talents flourish. “Hold Me Closer” is traditional Omar, fantastic melody and vocals, and an arrangement that is so richly textured and layered, his voice and music take us on a journey. He combines his Caribbean and West African roots in Love in Beats, especially on “Doobie Doobie Doo,” where you can hear the influences of Dennis Brown and Horace Andy. On “De Ja Vu,” Mayra Andrade, known her modern interpretation of traditional Cape Verdean morna music joins Omar in culture, and Jean-Michel Rotin on “Destiny” highlights the French Antillean zouk style. With the addition of legendary soul musician and composer, Leon Ware on “Gave My Heart,” Love in Beats is holistic in construct. But the real pleasure is listening to Omar’s twins “Girl Talk,” as they speak positive words that almost brought to life from their mere utterances. Others featured on the album are UK soultress Natasha Watts and The Floacist, formerly of Floetry. Love in Beats is available on Freestyle Records | Amazon | iTunes