Omega Sapien‘s first full length. Garlic, finally highlights the eclectic hip-hop artists outside of his work with Balming Tiger. The seven song release is a singular vision that presents a different side of hip-hop music. Building his style and perspective, Omega Sapien is a voice that shows how the genre is evolving.
Let’s be clear, Garlic isn’t like most mainstream hip-hop or rap albums from known artists. It’s a mix between hip-hop, electronic, and even punk rock elements. While the main recognized genre is hip-hop even the first track “i p t i m e” is less a direct hip-hop track and more of a mix between performance art and spoken word. The track has so many layers that it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening all the time and the vocals are the main thing to lead you through the song.
“Chu Chu” may be the easier entry, mainly because it adopts an easier verse-verse composition. Just like “i p t i m e,” there is a lot of sampling layering. And with the arrangement, some of the samples aren’t the most melodic. It makes you react to the song in different ways especially if you move past those samples deeper into the song.
Throughout Garlic, the instrumentals are one of the highlights outside of Omega Sapien’s lyrics. “Happycore” could have been a rock track with slightly different instrument choice, but under the power of Omega Sapien, it’s one of the most powerful tracks on the album. The mid-song transition to a Pump It Up-style electro-pop pulse is weird, but kind of what you start to expect with Omega Sapien. He’s using soundscapes that aren’t standard for the genre, but fit in to his own musical universe.
If you just saw some of Omega Sapien’s music videos, you might think it’s just performance. After his earlier Balming Tiger work, it was clear that he was growing and evolving. “Kolo Kolo” really brought him into the spotlight and he’s used that momentum to showcase his abilities on Garlic. The album isn’t for everyone, it might not even be for fans of the mainstream hip-hop currently in circulation.
What I get from Garlic is punk rock hip-hop or an artist who has found their voice and enabling the creativity to flow into any form that feels right. Garlic is weird but has a beauty and honesty that’s missing from hip-hop now.