Omen – Elephant Eyes

Elephant Eyes cover art (Dreamville rapper Omen)
After listening to Elephant Eyes in its entirety, I’m glad an album like it exists. Eyes projects a solid relevant theme that slowly develops itself with each song. Circling around social media and its effect on his rise to fame, Omen expresses his frustrations with ambiguity in a rap game where followers are becoming more valuable than actual exposure.
The title track emerges as the rightful heart of the album, but one song “Sketches of Paranoia (ft. Bas)” is actually more moving than Omen’s stylish accounts on love in “Elephant Eyes.” Throughout “Paranoia,” Omen describes actions of which he is not proud of, without sugar-coating his guilt he paints a believable picture of a man who’s made mistakes. I found myself rooting for his success as I listened not only to this track but the many succeeding. However, the omnipresent reliance on social media, and his obvious fixation on his public status in the media (though mocked in “Foolish Pride”) is, to me, a somewhat immature conflict that I personally never hope to have to deal with at that age.
It’s difficult to find much information on Chicago rapper Omen outside of his social media page, but from what I could gather, I know he’s signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label, dropped a couple of mixtapes before, and released his latest album at 32 years old. Neglecting whatever reservations towards Omen that these minor details may insight, there’s no reason to hesitate in listening to his album.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite musical devices in any album is the use of film dialogue, which is incorporated throughout Elephant Eyes. Each clip seems to be coming straight out of Omen’s mouth, an effect I’m sure was intentional, developing an honest story about his struggling ambition and layered insecurities. My favorite clip is the opening audio in “Motion Picture“, featuring a slow-talking man describing his startup production company; “mellow mafia, wacka fella records, three yellow men trillionaire club. you gotta think big….” The clip almost over shadows the song itself in its comical confidence. Regardless, it had me all the more excited to get into the rest of the album.
Elephant Eyes is refreshingly romantic; rather than emphasizing every bitch/hoe he’s successfully bedded since acquiring marginal fame, Omen instead vents his feelings about what may be one woman throughout the entire album. Finally, we’re given not just one love song, but a full-fledged love story within a rap album. That makes me happy. Without belittling the quality (which is an outdated presumption when relaying intimacy in hiphop), he speaks on his experience with love honestly, opening himself up more than any Wikipedia page could reveal. My favorite tracks are “Same Jezebel,” “Sweat It Out,” and “Zion.” The latter being a declaration of the universal importance of a woman in any man’s life. Elephant Eyes was a fun ride. And although I may not bump it as often as his fellow Dreamville member’s latest classic, I do think it’s worth a listen.

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