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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Buku Abi Fires Back After R. Kelly Posts Birthday Video

Buku Abi has seemingly responded to the media attention surrounding R. Kelly's birthday video message to her earlier this week. Buku requested that no one, including her father, refers to her by "Joann."

"My name is BUKU ABI. Not Joann, not dojo, not '[space] daughter,'" Buku insisted. "Nothing besides Buku will work for me. If you don’t know me personally, please don’t call me anything but Buku or Buku Abi."

While Buku didn't address anyone directly, the message was likely in reference to R. Kelly's video in which he used Buku's government name, Joann, in his birthday wish.

This wouldn't be the first time that Buku Abi has emerged on social media to address the controversy surrounding her father. In Jan. 2019, Buku released a statement amid Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, referring to him as a "monster." During his viral interview with Gayle King, Kelly suggested that Buku had been manipulated by his ex-wife, Drea Kelly, into believing he was a bad person.

Check out Buku Abi's message below.


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#RKelly’s daughter has something to say amid her father’s birthday wishes to her 👀😩

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:59am PDT

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Hundreds Dead, More Than A Million Affected After Cyclone Devastates Southern Africa

A tropical cyclone that destroyed parts of southern Africa is being called one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the region in decades. Tens of thousands of people have been left displaced and awaiting rescue after Cyclone Idai ripped through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last week causing catastrophic flooding, wiping out entire villages and raising concerns over the spread of malaria.

According to the Associated Press, more than 500 people have been confirmed dead, though the number is expected to rise substantially. “There is death all over,” survivor Amos Makunduwa told AP. “It is beginning to smell really bad. The whole area is like one big body of water, huge rocks and mud. There are no houses, as if no one ever stayed here.”

In Mozambique, as many as 100,000 people remain “isolated” without help, the Mozambique National Disaster Management Institute said according to the United Nations. The country’s government estimates that more than 1,000 people have died thus far.

In nearby Zimbabwe, between 8,000 and 9,600 people have been displaced and as many as 200,000 people are in desperate need of food and assistance. The situation is likely to “deteriorate even more” as the numbers increase, said Hervé Verhoosel, spokesperson for The World Food Program. The organization projects that it will cost around $121 million to feed more than a million people for the next three months.

“It is clear that the number of 600,000 will definitely go up in the coming days,” Verhoosel said. “That has of course [an] implication on cost. If we help 600,000 people for three months, that is a cost of $42 million. If we need to help up to 1.7 million people for three months, that will be a cost of $121.5 million. Obviously, we don’t have that money today.”

The WFP is seeking $5 million for Zimbabwe, to provide food, air and logistical support, and $10 million for Malawi where more than 920,000 people are affected by the storm. The country has so far confirmed 577 injuries, and 56 deaths.

Cargo planes were able to deliver food that has “not yet been fully distributed” Verhoosel said. Beira, a port city in Mozambique where the cyclone made landfall, was virtually wiped out making it challenging for people to unload food that arrived at the local airport. “In Beira, the level of water is not the same as in the countryside… inland, the problem is that you have basically water all around,” Verhoosel explained.

The storm has affected over a million people across all three countries. The World Health Organization, and UN are working with local governments to supply aid. In addition, the WHO revealed in a news release that “health experts, medicines and medical materials and equipment are also ongoing for Malawi and Zimbabwe.”

“The displacement of large numbers of people and the flooding triggered by Cyclone Idai significantly increases the risk of malaria, typhoid and cholera,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “WHO stands with the affected people and is organizing assistance to address their urgent health needs.”

Click here for info on how you can help those affected. See photos of the devastation below.

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Fordham University Drops Soulja Boy From Spring Concert Lineup Following Arrest

Soulja Boy’s latest arrest cost him an upcoming gig at Fordham University. The rapper has been booted off the 2019 Spring Weekend concert lineup, which is scheduled for April 27.

“The Campus Activities Board has watched, along with our fellow Fordham students, the headlines that have been in the news as a result of Soulja Boy’s comeback,” the group said in a statement to The Blast. “After careful consideration, the Campus Activities Board has decided to remove Soulja Boy from the Spring Weekend concert lineup.”

In January, Fordham confirmed in that the “Crank That” rapper would be headlining the concert event as part of his 2019 tour.

The 28-year-old recording artist was arrested for probation violation last Friday (March 15), after checking in with his probation officer. He was accused of possessing firearms and ammo, but was released from custody hours later.

Following his release, SB headed to a Los Angeles Clippers game to perform at the halftime show.


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