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Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop


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"Review: Omen | Afraid Of Heights (Mixtape)"

On November 5th, Chi-town’s very own Omen hit us with his first full release, Afraid Of Heights, which consisted of 17 tracks produced by Omen himself. Let me start off by saying, I was inspired to review this project because not only was it ridiculously dope, but I barely heard anyone even comment on it, at all. And that right there made me want to voice my opinion. Like, seriously, this project is incredible. Before I even get into all that, there’s something else I wanted to say as well, because I have to be completely honest here. I knew about Omen, but never really got into his music like that, as much as I believe I should have. I first heard of him, just like some other people may have, through a couple features off Cole’s mixtapes. Although, after listening to Afraid Of Heights, I completely became a believer of Omen and his overall craft. Since this project dropped, I’ve been stuck on it heavily. So, I decided to give my opinion on each song on Afraid Of Heights. I go in. You’ve been warned…

(Read the rest of the review after the jump)

1. “Dopeart Academy” (intro) – The mixtape starts with a flight attendant explaining that there are no exits on the plane. I think this was a dope touch, since the title of the project is “Afraid Of Heights”.

2. “Beyond” – This track was definitely on my list of favorites. It was just inspiring from beginning to end. Omen speaks about witnessing the issues that go on in the ghetto, from living to a broken home, to venting about how he tries to escape the hardships through his music. Plus this hook was very catchy and it fit perfectly.

One of my favorite verses:

But hell is just so handsome
It touch ‘em, then romance ‘em
It bust ‘em down and ask ‘em if they like some private dancing
So many times I’ve tried to run away, but I can’t outrun hell
It’s here to stay, wish I had wings on my back to fly away
Had wings on my back to fly away.
3. “Window” feat. Shalonda- *sighs* Seriously speaking, I could quote this entire song. Omen talks about absolutely everything you could even imagine, such as, life, education, music, work, family and friends. The beat to this song just makes it that much more touching and Shalonda’s soothing voice was certainly the icing to the cake. With only a few bars in, you already know this song is going to be deep…

Witness the transition from a man to a king
Nothing’s been given to me, I’ve earned everything
I deserve much more
This what I worked for
Wasn’t settling for no 9 – 5 work force
That definitely caught my attention because it was relatable to me. Working those 9 to 5 jobs aren’t no joke, man. —Another thing that really caught my attention in this track was towards the end of the song, where I’m pretty sure he was talking about how people mention that he’s only known because of J. Cole and just started making music. However, besides all that bull, he shows that he is talented…

Bloggers coming at me, acting like they know the way
Disrespect me, and say that I’m just my friend’s protégée
Like I ain’t been working for years on my own, writing rhymes
Doing songs making beats all at home by my lonesome
4. “Answers” feat. Ari Lourdes – Okay. This song was my overall favorite out of the whole project. Omen goes in on this one. His whole flow flops into a belligerent sound, where we get to hear a different side of the emcee and I loved it. Omen talks about realizing that he shouldn’t blame anyone else for his downfalls and realizes that the only enemy he has is himself. Ari Lourdes’ voice is amazing. Instant quotable from start to finish.

This line made my hairs stand up:

Only I could stop my dreams. my only enemy is myself… I look to the sky and I scream, more than ever need God’s help.
5. “Stories” – Omen speaks on how everyone around him (family, friends, etc;) has their life in order, but feels that he’s nowhere near that, which I feel could be relatable. What stuck out to me the most about this track is when he sai - Womazing

"2DopeBoyz Year End List."

2DopeBoyz, arguably the most popular hiphop blog on the internet list its top projects for the year 2011. These are seperated by albums, mixtapes, and eps. - 2DopeBoyz


J. Cole’s mysterious and seldom seen track mate has dropped his mixtape “Afraid Of Heights”, featuring Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Been waiting on this one ever since Omen’s “The Badness” verse on Cole’s now somewhat luke- “Warm Up”. Available for free download on Dreamvillain. - Respect Mag

"J. Cole Talks to VIBE Magazine and List His Top 5 Under 30"

He may not be peddling his debut album just yet, but J.Cole has surely proven himself countless times as one of hip-hop's hopeful. Earlier this week VIBE debuted it's controversial Greatest Rapper Alive (Under 30!) list and young simba found himself hugging the top five level with (spoiler alert!) Nicki Minaj (#4), Drake (#3), Lupe Fiasco (#2) and Lil Wayne (#1). So does Cole think we pinned him at the right slot?
"Of course I wanted number one, but I know you got to do a lot more work for that... a lot more people got to hear your voice. Five is incredible for right now though. That's beautiful."
Cole went on to say that if he could fashion his personal top five under thirty, Wale, Omen, Drake, Freddie Gibbs and himself would own those seats. - VIBE Magazine


Afraid Of Heights (2011)
Delayed (2009)
Do The Right Thing Vol. 1 ( 2006)

Afraid of Heights is streaming in full on



Where are the phenomenons? In a time where the industry is flooded with cookie-cutter images, most Hip-Hop lovers either rely on classics to get them through their day-to-day groove or wait anxiously for new music from artists that continuously present fresh ideas. Omen, an introspective, Hyde Park, Chicago lyricist, accurately chose his stage name and strives for nothing short of authenticity. Omen's striking solo feature on J. Cole's recent mixtape Friday Night Lights was enough to prove that he's a progressive sign of things to come for the Hip Hop community. Omen was invited on the Light Dreams and Nightmares tour headlined by Drake and J. Cole, which stopped in several European places such as London, Paris, Germany and Sweden where international fans eagerly embraced his Chicago perspective.

Inspired by the likes of Nas, Common, and Outkast as well as artists like Radiohead and Lauryn Hill , the on-again/off-again pianist since the age of 14 picked up rapping 10 years ago and has been producing for 8 of those years. As a genuine music lover, Omen expresses who he is as an artist and a person, writing lyrics that discuss his experiences and that of others' or at least the way it looks through his eyes.

"I write it where it's specific enough where you get that this is my experience, but not so specific where you can't relate to it. There has to be a balance."

Omen's most recent project, Afraid of Heights, was highly celebrated by his fans and held some noteworthy collaborations. Omen handled the production duties for the entire project, but found time to share verses with Roc Nation signee J. Cole, Westcoast phenom Kendrick Lamar, as well Grammy nominated soul singer Eric Roberson on "Numb." The idea behind the title?

"I think a lot people struggle with the fear of success, and the fear of risking everything traditional and somewhat guaranteed to follow their passion. In the past its something I've dealt with and I just feel its an issue that isn't commonly talked about but is really widespread."