Omaha rapper cooks up something fresh for hip-hop fans
Let’s see … Omaha hip-hop: check. Debut album out on Team Love (a.k.a. Conor Oberst’s label pet project): check. Grimy yet accessible production: check. We can stop right there, ample fodder for appropriately wry jokes and winking nudges abounds. The thing is, Mars Black and DJ E. Babbs’ first proper release is pretty dope. An MC who namedrops both Bob Dylan and KRS-1 in the first song on his record, “The Trouble in Little Omaha,” Black neither makes excuses for his influences or fronts on his hometown. And this is a good thing since his rhymes—which occasionally rise to a gruff bark as he gets deeper and deeper into a song—provide a candid snapshot into his particular world (“Mars Black coming back like a cardigan”). But don’t be fooled, this isn’t indie rock disguised as hip-hop; this is Oma-hop from an artist who doesn’t appear remotely concerned with the tired conventions of mainstream rap.