Rarely do you find a rapper who quotes lyrics by Lauryn Hill and Ghostface Killah when asked his favorite song lyrics—but it is Lauryn’s spoken-word style and Ghostface’s street-storyteller delivery that unsigned rapper OE relates to most. OE, born Omar Thompson, is a Queens-bred, Brooklyn-born, Jamaican-cultured rapper, who is quickly establishing himself in the new wave of artistry in hip hop, with a style that fuses authentic street poetry with the charisma of a new-school emcee.
Raised in South Side Jamaica, Queens—OE developed a natural interest in Hip-Hop and R&B music early on. By becoming a student of the craft, through the medium of examining song lyrics, OE appreciation for the genres became even more pronounced. Inspired by the tribulation-to-triumph stories, that he heard while listening to some of his favorite rappers—including Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, 50 Cent, Biggie Smalls and Tupac—OE discovered, that he too had a story to tell. At age 17 years old, he began writing poetry as a means to confront personal and domestic issues. Yet, it wasn’t until he met fellow artist and former co-worker, Good Doctor Easy, that OE uncovered his ability to write melodically. Good Doctor Easy—creator of the Hip-Hop/R&B crew NFF (Nonfiction Faction), currently OE's crew—encouraged him to nurture his craft and helped him transition from poet to songwriter. “I started off writing R&B. Melodies came to me merely by listening to a beat and humming…so I guess I started off as a great hummer,” OE recalls. Eventually, lyrics and melodies began to flow organically, and at 23 years old, he penned his first R&B song, “Mercy,” for NFF crew member Onika Charles.
Yet amidst his newly found passion was apprehension. Although OE could capture the voice of other artists through his writing, finding his own voice as a solo artist proved to be a challenge. After penning many R&B songs for others, ironically OE eventually established his solo identity as a rapper. “Starting off, I was slightly introverted—I’m not ashamed to say it—so I was always in my head,” he explains. “As I wrote more, my confidence grew, and once I believed in what I was saying, rapping came naturally.” Ultimately, OE’s love for music, decision to try his hand at R&B songs and infusion of his poetic expression began the journey to establishing his identity as a rapper .
OE has also been influenced by the strong and continuous presence of music throughout his life. OE took to the mic and set out to cultivate a sound that is both rugged and sincere. Pulling inspiration from his culture and life lessons; his lyrics speaks candidly about family, topics from domestic issues to relationships, to growing up in the inner-city—OE delivers conscious, thoughtful, relatable tracks that provide listeners with more than just a catchy beat. His latest tracks, “I’m Ill,” “Defining Moment” and “Southside Anthem” display his lyrical wit and poetic sensibility.
Currently, OE is working on his debut mix tape and performing his music throughout NYC. As OE’s assertive presence as an unsigned artist in the music industry gains more and more attention, he continues to be led by his passion, all while remaining true to his voice and his story.