Pardon The Introduction: Omega Red Wants To Bring Boston Hip-Hop Back From The Dead

In the world of hip-hop Omega Red faces an uphill battle: He represents Boston. Historically, Beantown has had a shaky time breaking into the national rap scene. Sure Ed O.G. & The Bulldogs is often name-checked as the one rap act that managed to make respectable noise. But the city has struggled mightily coping with the mammoth albatross known as Ray Benzino and his notorious Made Men outfit. Thankfully, Omega Red wants to change this. The up-and-coming rhymer and label head is genuinely obsessed with placing his beloved hometown back on the hip-hop map with his debut release Red October (due out Oct. 30). VIBE goes one on one with the newcomer who has worked with everyone from MC God KRS-One to Akon’s hit making Konvict Muzik production team, to find out if he has what it takes to carry an entire city on his back.—Keith Murphy

VIBE: First thing's first… let’s get it out of the way. Being a closet comic book nerd, I know the name Omega Red also happens to be a character from the X-Men. Were you aware of this?

Omega Red: [Laughs] I do love the X-Men. But I don’t consider myself a comic book cat. Actually, my name did not originate from that character. It was just ironic because the way I got the Red nickname was that everyone around my way in Boston called me Red. I’m Black, Irish, and Native American, so I have a reddish Indian/Irish tone. Now Omega came from the time when I was incarcerated.

Can you open up about your time in prison?

I don’t mind talking about it. I was incarcerated for three and a half years. I got really big so dudes started calling me Omega Red. But being in prison had a huge impact on my life. I was charged with home invasion, kidnapping and possession of a firearm [among other things]. That was a good chunk of my young life… I was 20 going on 21. I can’t even tell you how I came back from that. I guess I’m a strong-willed dude. I had a lot of people praying for me. I believe God knows my intentions, so even though I dabbled in stuff, I had good intentions.

KRS-One is featured on your upcoming album Red October. Being a much younger artist, how important was it to connect with such a legendary act?

It was really important to me. I was fortunate enough to be raised to witness both the old and new school. I grew up listening to KRS. That was the first time I got star struck while meeting an artist; Big Daddy Kane was another artist that made me nervous. But I found KRS-One to be very humble and down to earth. It was a rite of passage. A lot of new artists don’t have a respect for the oldschool. They don’t know about the origins of the music. I’d rather do records with the legends in the game than to do them with new cats because the legends set the foundation. That goes beyond hip-hop. I did a remix for Donna Summers, who is the queen of disco.

Now that’s an odd pairing, huh?

Well, she’s my aunt. And she respected me enough to reach out to me because she saw my movement. She asked me to remix one of her songs. And actually, it came out pretty good.

You worked with Akon’s Convict Muzik production crew for your current single “Endz.” Did you have any reservations about hooking up with an overtly commercial outfit?

A lot of the hardcore hip-hop artists want to be diverse but they can’t because they are stuck in a box. A lot of them are going to hate the fact that I’m working with [Akon’s team]. But I don’t care what anyone thinks. They want to come test me, come test me [laughs]. I met Detail from Konvict Muzik through Ray J. Detail produced the ‘Sexy Can I’ record.” He is a very eccentric dude; he was real arrogant and cocky when I first met him [laughs]. I laid the “Endz” record down in 15 minutes. After Detail heard it he was like, ‘I have to do three more records with this dude…he’s a superstar!’” He didn’t think I was that versatile in the beginning. I sponge up different styles.

What do you want fans to get out of Red October?

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Michael Jordan Pledges $100 Million Towards Racial Equality Organizations

Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are committed to “improving the lives of Black people.” The basketball legend and his company pledged to donate $100 million to organizations working to end racal injustice.

Jordan Brand announced a 10-year plan on social media on Friday (June 5). “Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our countr'y institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people,” the statement reads in part.

“Today, we are announcing the Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand will be donating $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”

Jordan has become more vocal about social issues as of late. In 2016, he donated $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Institute for Community-Police Relations and called  for “solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers — who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all — are respected and supported.”

Read's the Jordan's Brands full statement on the $100 million initiative below.

Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement. We are you. We are a family. We are a community.

— Jordan (@Jumpman23) June 5, 2020

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Man Who Killed Ahmaud Arbery Called Him The N-Word, Investigator Says

A special agent investigating the murder of Ahmaud Arbery revealed details of the aftermath of the fatal shooting. Travis McMichael  called Arbery a “fu**ing ni**er” after shooting and killing him, Richard Dial, of Georgia's Bureau of Investigation, revealed during a preliminary hearing in a Brunswick court on Thursday (June 4).

Dial testified that Travis used the n-word on at least two other occasions. “One particular one that comes to mind was he made the statement that he loved his job because he’s out on a boat and there aren’t any n-words anywhere,” Dial said per NBC News.

Travis, 34, and his father, Gregory McMichaels, 54, attended Thursday’s hearing via video phone from jail. William “Roddie” Bryan, the third man arrested for Arbery’s murder, did not attend the hearing, where a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to for a trial. Bryan reportedly told police about Travis using the n-word after killing Arbery, which the McMichaels deny. The use of a racial slur won't affect the case since Georgia has no hate crime laws.

The McMichaels are charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, for killing 25-year-old Arbery while he was out for a run in February. According to Dial, Bryan admitted to trying to block Arbery with his truck before hitting him with the vehicle. “The victim was chased, hunted down and and ultimately executed at the hands of these men,” Cobb County Chief Assistant D.A. Jesse Evans said in court.

Bryan, the McMichaels’ neighbor who recorded Arbery’s murder on his cell phone, faces felony murder, criminal contempt, and false imprisonment. All three men were arrested last month.

Grizzly footage of the deadly incident was played in court. In Bryan’s leaked cell phone recording, the men are seen surrounding Arbery, who attempts to wrestle a gun away from Travis while fighting for his life despite being shot in the chest. Travis admitted to firing three times, hitting Arbery in the middle of his chest, as well as the upper left chest area near his armpit, and in the wrist.

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Trina Apologizes For Comments About Protestors After Receiving Backlash

After catching backlash for her controversial rant about protesters, Trina apologized and clarified her comments via her Trick 'N Trina Morning Show with Trick Daddy on Miami’s 99 Jamz on Thursday (June 4).

“I just want to say I apologize sincerely to everybody I offended by what I said. I spoke passionately about how I felt about people destroying our community here in Miami,” said Trina.

Trina takes full responsibility for her comments and apologizes on the #TrickAndTrinaMorningShow

— Female Rap Room (@FemaleRapRoom) June 4, 2020

The Diamond Princess explained that her previous comments seemingly likening protestors to “animals,” weren't directed at Black people who are working to bring about change. “I'm not going to say ‘Black people are animals. But I didn't say ‘Hey all of my people I'm not talking to you.’”

The Miami native went on to reveal that she has educated herself on the goal of Black Lives Matter protests. “When we spoke to the commissioner, I said to Trick [Daddy], ‘I learned a lot more about what's really happening,’ because I'm trying to get what’s the solution, what is the answer to everything that is happening? It’s more than just people in the streets doing whatever, it’s the commissioners, it’s the governor, it’s the mayor, the chief of police, I had no idea of that and now I’m understanding that. These are the people that has to protect the cities. These are the people that you want answers from, you want change.”

Trina Apologizes After Controversial Comments: I Would Never Call Black People Animals Or Any Name

— theJasmineBRAND (@thejasminebrand) June 4, 2020

On Tuesday, Trick and Trina were discussing the recent uprisings in Miami when she began ranting about looters. “They need to make the curfew at 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Keep everybody off the street, these animals off the streets, that are running around Miami-Dade County acting like they have escaped from a zoo. Lock them up at 5 p.m. so the streets can be nice and clean.”

Trina on radio calling on extending the curfew and to “keep everybody off the streets, these animals off the streets”

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 3, 2020

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