L.A. rap mainstay OMNI's new project with Tricky is available for free download today. Titled IamOMNI, it sees the trip-hop icon handling production duties while the MC raps what is being pitched as a rousing "call to arms for the youth to claim control of themselves and to understand that in a world where nothing seems real they are the only thing left that is." Which sounds like a pretty lofty mission statement to us, so instead of delving into the details we asked OMNI to compile his top five all-time classic trip-hop songs. He enthusiastically obliged.
"Bjork is amazing, I've been a fan of hers forever. She's just an awesome person; she embodies what an artist is, like an Amy Winehouse. Her voice is amazing, her content is amazing, there will never be another Bjork. This song is just one of many of hers that's amazing. It would be a dream of mine to collaborate with her -- I think it would be me with an amazing verse and then her coming in and out with her hooks, like something for the festivals. Did Tricky [who dated Ms. Gudmundsdottir] tell me any stories about her? Nah, Tricky just said she was an amazing person. He says that about everyone."
4. "Trans Fatty Acid"
"A friend of mine put me on to Lamb. I was working on the Tricky album for a few years, and a friend who's a big trip-hop head was so stoked that I was working with Tricky he kept recommending music for me to listen to. I didn't want to listen to a ton of trip-hop as if that's the way to make a trip-hop record though, but I did come across this which was like an undiscovered gem to me. I think slower tracks like this, if you were rapping over them, they build more of a soundscape for you to get across your lyrical vision. The lyrics and the soundscape is almost like slowed-down movies. I can picture like Andre 3000 on a Lamb track or a Portishead track. Imagine how dope that would be!"
3. "Evolution Revolution Love"
"This is just an amazing song. Tricky's dope, and he has so many amazing songs. The hook is amazing, it's really catchy and tuneful, and to me it's one of his songs that I'm the most into. I don't think he would consider himself as a straight-up rapper -- and I actually talk to him about that, 'cause I consider him a rapper because he has lyrics, but then you could say Miley Cyrus is a rapper 'cause she rhymes -- but he's underrated in general. He's really more of a cult icon. I think he's got some of the craziest lyrics. He's not just trying to make a pop song with them. It's not like the Black Eyed Peas, where it sounds good but it's really not saying much. And I'm always into the lyrics."
"This is a classic, 'Mysterons.' Her [Beth Gibbon's] voice is strange but beautiful -- not Bjork strange, but definitely distinctive, like beautiful chalkboard scratching. Everyone has a Portishead story. I had the pleasure of seeing Portishead live at Coachella. Their live show was amazing. They had a great ensemble, she sat down a lot to sing. They recreated the record, which is important to me. Like I saw a show recently -- it was Lauryn Hill at Rock the Bells, doing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill -- and I was so excited to hear it, 'cause that's one of my favorite records, but sometimes when you see people live you get a different experience from the music you've listened to at home and that kinda jars me. But when I saw Portishead, their stage show sounds like their album to me. And to me, if I could ever be in a group, it would be part of Portishead."
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1. "Heat Miser"
"When I first heard this song, it was the summertime and I was working on my first record [Funkdafied Freddy] and was trying to get inspired; I listen to other stuff when I write music and I've always been a fan of Massive Attack. To me, the way the song builds up slowly and brings in all these layers is what makes it work. Really, the thing with trip-hop is that it's like the twin cousin of hip-hop -- it's just the tempos are a little slower and there's more layers to the productions. But I freestyle over this beat all the time."