Localize It: Hip-hop lands in Anchorage with the help of OMEGA

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Hip-hop music is apart of today’s culture in ways bigger than most had ever imagined. From the way we dress, speak, and act, artists who put out this type of music have a large influence over its listeners. Hip-hop music is a way of speaking out, an outlet that many artists use to spread awareness of issues, whether they be social, political, or personal. The genre of hip-hop has become important to many, and has proven to stick around when nothing else really does.

It is easy to name off countless national hip-hop artists, but when thought about at a local level, very few names seem to come to mind. If hip-hop is such an important aspect to today’s society, why does it seem to not exist on a smaller scale as well?

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Photo credit: Johnny Minnery Photography

This lack of local hip-hop music was one that Tyler Smith, Jeremy Locke, Miguel Prince and Michael Corder recognized, and in May of 2014, they decided to do something about. With the help of Garrett McCally linking everyone together and introducing them to the production side of making music, OMEGA was formed. Since the formation of this group, they have opened for big name rap artists like RiFF RAFF and Waka Flocka, and they also performed at numerous local shows around Anchorage.

“It was never really intentional for us to all get this into it, we started out just messing around and then never really stopped. We care a lot about the whole thing now, its very important to us,” Prince said.

OMEGA records and produces all of their tracks at home, and they frequently add new music to their well known Soundcloud account. This is a primary way that many hip-hop groups and artists put their music out there, to help reach listeners both locally and out-of-state.

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Photo credit: Johnny Minnery Photography

Being influenced by all kinds of hip-hop artists, and even musicians outside of the genre, OMEGA has formed a sound of their own that captures their unique production methods and style. Flatbush Zombies, Childish Gambino and Kanye West are just a few of the major hip-hop names that have helped aide in creating OMEGA’s sound.

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“I’ve always been inspired by outside music, but after we linked up I got a feed off of the other members more than anything. We all have something that makes us a little different from the other, so it’s cool to be influenced by that too,” Prince said.

“I guess I’ve been looking backwards more lately to find inspiration or influence. When I’m rapping, I feel way more influenced by the punk and alternative music I listen to. I relate more to the lifestyle that those artists have, it makes my rapping feel more honest and fresh and my own,” Locke added.

“Local groups like Old Hounds really are a big influence in not just the music for me, but in terms of making a name for our group in Anchorage’s local music scene too,” Smith said.

OMEGA truly has immersed themselves in their work, and continue to put out tracks that only show how they have furthered their talents. For having recorded their music at home in a living room, OMEGA’s sound quality is very professional, and extremely impressive when thinking about how far they’ve come in so little time. Member Michael Corder is the primary producer for OMEGA, and he often makes the tracks that Tyler, Miguel and Jeremy will rap to.

“I don’t wanna just make the rhymes, I wanna produce the beat, master the beat, record and edit my own tracks, do it all for OMEGA,” Corder said.

Once they have finished a track, OMEGA sends their music to ohJack, who finalizes their content at his production site in Salt Lake City, before finally putting it out for the listener. This is a process that goes into every song that OMEGA releases, and it takes effort and hard work from every member to create the final product.

“People always wonder how our stuff sounds so good, saying that its better than just a Soundcloud rap. That’s where we’ve gotta give huge credit to Jack for making our stuff sound as professional as possible, especially since we’re just a local group, and very much so on a budget,” Corder said.

Each member of OMEGA wants nothing more than to continue doing exactly what they’re doing and progressing with each track they put out. It is difficult to be a hip hop group in Anchorage, because of the fact that the scene isn’t very developed compared to others here, but that hasn’t stopped this group from finding ways to get their name out there. OMEGA has opened for hardcore bands before and would do it again despite the fact that it is out of their usual group of listeners.

“The Old Hounds show that we opened for was probably my favorite performance we’ve done as OMEGA so far. Not only was the crowd there and hype for us, but it was so cool to go outside of our usual circle, and branch the genres together. That’s the best thing about making music in general, doing stuff people don’t expect and seeing them enjoy it,” Smith said.

“One of the sickest things has got to be just the fact that I’ll be upstairs in my room, and I can hear my roommates downstairs playing our music. Just knowing that we put out tracks that others genuinely want to listen to is awesome, and now our next focus has to be on what we can do to perform it better for those listeners,” Locke said.

OMEGA is now on the map, and doing major things for hip-hop in Anchorage’s local scene. This group is one that is not likely to fade away anytime soon, and we all have our eyes set, waiting for their next move.