Hip-hop/Rap music has seen generations of bar-spitting rappers with impeccable delivery and flows for days. It’s evolved over the years and given room for new talents to explore their creativity. If you are an avid follower of the emerging music scene, especially the alternative Hip-hop/Rap locale, then the name Oma Mahmud must have crossed your timeline.
Oma Mahmud, formerly “KidPUSH” is a songwriter, music producer, rapper and an all-round artsy guy. In May of 2016, Oma released his compilation, “Somewhere In Lagos” a ten-track EP produced by Nonso Amadi, Bankyondbeatz, Mageia, Tempo and Suté Iwar and featuring Nonso Amadi, Santi, Paula B and Nova Killz to announce himself as one to watch out for while staying true to his sound. He soon released the video for “Aje“, a fan favorite from “Somewhere In Lagos“. A year later, Oma dropped an 11 minute three-song EP, “Interlude” featuring King Mufasa, produced by Bankyondbeatz, Oma Mahmud and Iamdbeatz. With more songs to his credit, Oma Mahmud is one to expect more and much from as his music has seen growth and is gaining more fans.
Here’s the chat I had with Oma:
Who is Oma Mahmud?
My full name is Yezeed Oma Mohammed Mahmud, I’m a Nigerian musician, I like to believe I’m an artist, and I try to be so in every sense of the word. I’m from Lagos, Nigeria (born and raised). My Mum and Dad are from Delta and Edo states respectively. I grew up in a full house, we must have been at least 10 at all times, that’s excluding my parents and the maid. I have 7 siblings- 3 sisters, 4 brothers and at least 5 of our cousins lived with us. Some were more permanent than the others. The older ones always wanted to watch Channel O and MTV, and would force the rest of us to learn the lyrics and dance moves to popular songs.
I went to school almost entirely in Lagos, went to secondary school in Benin for a term, before coming back to Lagos to go to Supreme Education Foundation, then I went to Babcock University in Ogun state, which was just 35 minutes away from Lagos on a good day. So you see, Lagos is all I know lol.
What made you realize music was it for you?
When I was 9, after listening to 50cents “Get Rich Or Die Trying” album, myself, my brother and my cousin were moved to go record a Gangster rap mixtape with the karaoke function of the upstairs living room sound system, it was jokes of course lol, but that’s where it all started for me. I’d go on to start writing raps in my notebooks. One time my Mum saw a checklist I made at the beginning of one summer, she was so proud, she thought it was goals I had set for myself for the summer, in a way they were, it was a tracklist lol, songs I hoped to record before the summer was over, I must have been in JSS 2.
Since I was 14, I was fairly certain that I wanted to be a musician, I’ve been so passionate about it since then, doing anything to make music. It’s one of the few things that still excite me.
How would you describe the music you make, and what are the things that inspire you?
My music is self-expression, what you hear in my music is melodic compositions containing my innermost thoughts and feelings. My songs may not feel that deep to some people and that’s fine, they can just enjoy the vibes, but when the message or story resonates with you, you feel it deep in your soul, you feel like I’m telling your story, cause all I’m doing is telling my story. My music is primarily influenced by my real life.
What is your creative process like?
I don’t know if I have a specific creative process, don’t even think I have the luxury of having one ’cause my studio is a bedroom, and because it has the best AC in the house, everyone seems to want to hang out there. I’m writing hooks all day in my head. When I get one that feels and sounds really good, I record a voice note in my phone, then later when I feel like I have enough space to create, mentally and physically, I go in and try to build the song.
What inspired “Somewhere In Lagos”?
“Somewhere In Lagos” was inspired by struggle. I was super emotional at the time, angry at everything, heartbroken x10, so all I did was record music, and that just came to life.
Between “Somewhere In Lagos” and “Interlude“, what changed about your artistry?
After “Somewhere In Lagos“, I made a conscious effort to experiment with my sound, push my vocals to the limit and see what I’m really capable of. “Interlude” was just a compilation E.P of songs I had no plans for, but were too good for me to throw away. I recorded so much during that period, those were just some of my favorites.
These days, we hear more of a singing Oma Mahmud than the rapper he used to be, what inspired this transition?
Yeah, like I said, I made a conscious decision to try new things, ’cause truth is I always wanted to sing, the issue has always been confidence. I still rap though, tryna balance it out on my next project.
What role do you think artistes have in the society?
In this Nigerian society, artistes have the power to do a lot. I’m not saying anyone should go and be a political activist, that’s a personal choice. I feel like artistes should be aware of the power they have and the responsibility that comes with that power. Music is in people’s ears all the time, the messages are being engraved in their brains. I feel like as an artiste if you hope to be successful, you should know you are going to be a role model.
Who are your biggest influences?
Musically these days, I’m hardly influenced by anyone, but overtime I’ve learnt a lot from 50,
J. Cole, Chvrches, Haim, Fela, Bankyondbeatz, Santi and Burnaboy. I’m sure there are many others, but those are just a few names that come to mind now.
What else do you do, aside music?
Music is my life, it’s really broad. I do a lot in music, rap, sing, produce, write, mix and master, that’s all really time consuming. But outside music, I also do visual arts, graphic designing. In another life I’d have been an artist, cause I draw really good, but my passion for music wouldn’t let me.
Of all your songs and projects, which is your favorite?
Favourite project is deffs “Somewhere In Lagos“, ’cause of the attention it brought to me, it was mad. I don’t know my favourite song, I’d say “Hurting“, for it’s sentimental value.
What’s next for Oma Mahmud?
“PINK“! That’s what’s next for me. That’s the name of my next project, you guys are the first to know. It should be out sometime in November and I’m really excited about it. I’d yarn you guys the meaning later.