omari-hardwick-josiah-bell-bloodshed omari-hardwick-josiah-bell-bloodshed

Premiere: Omari Hardwick Mourns The Loss Of Loved Ones On His Debut Single "Bloodshed"

Teaming up with singer-songwriter and producer Josiah Bell, the Power actor readies fans for his sophomore project Later Decatur.

Before anyone defined him, Omari Hardwick has always fancied himself as an artist first. As encompassing and lofty as the word may be, the 43-year-old has experienced much of his success as an actor starring in several high-profile roles, but most notably as James St. Patrick/Ghost on the STARZ hit drama Power. 

But just because fans know one dimension of Hardwick, doesn't mean there aren't others developed and waiting to be expressed. In an exclusive interview with VIBE, Hardwick takes time from shooting Season Four to explain why now is the perfect time for him to showcase his musical side.

"As a poet, I would always hear emcees come up to me and say, 'Yo, you should rap,' and I was like, 'No.' You know, the label was tough for me," Hardwick confessed. 'I'm a poet. I was proud of that distinction between the two, not wanting to be the other. So, I think just in terms of what God's call for me was, I think I was to pop in a world of visibility as an actor prior to audibility as a musician...People were seeing me enough that they might listen to something I had to say even if they didn't necessarily receive it. They'd at least give it a shot."

Titled "Bloodshed," Hardwick teamed up with singer-songwriter Josiah Bell to release a somber recording about some of the most horrific acts domestically and abroad. While Hardwick doesn't rap, there is a rhythm he maintains with his passionate delivery. Omari admits he cried at the end of the recording, got some weight off his chest, and helped him to mourn great loss he's experienced.

"For a long time, I had been very secretive about a lot of the things I'd been through personally, and a lot of that is purposeful...my fan base for the large part is the younger generation. They're like, 'I want to know everything! I want to know it all!' I don't add to it as much as I could by letting certain things be known and those things are everything from having lost a son during the same time my father was shot six times, which was only a year and maybe 10 months after my brother was shot 10 times. Within two years of that--father survived, son did not, brother did not--my cousin who was 33-years-old after fighting a seven-year battle with brain cancer passed on. There's a lot, and I don't really know how to mourn that well, so perhaps I do it through art."

This isn't Hardwick's first dance with music. In 2002, he released a 16-track album appropriately titled Return of the Poet, which didn't merit a lot of attention. Now, 15 years later, Hardwick is trying his hand at it again and hopefully to bigger fanfare. Later this year, the Georgia native plans to release his sophomore effort Later Decatur, in homage to a man never saying goodbye to his home, but eagerly looking forward to his future.

When asked if his music will be featured on the upcoming season of the STARZ drama, he coyly turned the question on its head.

"That's an awesome question," Hardwick said with a laugh. "That's such a cool-ass question and I can't wait for you to ask Courtney [A. Kemp] and Curtis [Jackson] that question."

Listen to Omari Hardwick debut single, featuring Josiah Bell "Bloodshed" below.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Premiere: Mass Appeal's 070 Phi Teaches Smart Street Politics In 'Good Contracts' Music Video

In the Llama-directed music video for his song "Good Contracts," New Jersey rapper 070 Phi tells a harrowing street tale of violence, kidnapping and betrayal.

“The concept behind 'Good Contracts' is keeping yourself out of a vulnerable position where somebody can take advantage of you. In the video, one of the characters involved himself with a woman that he met outside and brought her to where he makes his money," 070 Phi told VIBE. "His relationship with her was like a bad contract because all she wants to do is take advantage of him and rob him for his money. Metaphorically speaking my character is a good lawyer that helps him out of his situation.”

Musically, 070 Phi uses witty autotuned rhymes to share his sense of impending doom in the face of block enemies and corrupt cops, and how he plans to keep his integrity in all scenarios. "Good Contracts" is the second visual from his EP Outside, which is available on all streaming platforms through Mass Appeal Records.

Phi's Hudson County, New Jersey-rooted 070 Collective has been making waves for the past year and change. Phi formed the crew with Shake, Ralph River, Treee Safari, Behard, Bhee, Malick, Hack, and production group The Kompetition. Since then, Phi and Shake have both have found success: Phi as a signee of Mass Appeal Records, and appearing on the label's Starting 5: Vol. 1 compilation, and Shake as a signee of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, appearing on songs "Ghost Town" and "Violent Crimes" from West's album Ye, as well as appearing on Pusha T's Daytona and Nas' Nasir.

Fans can see 070 Phi perform on the Starting 5 tour with Mass Appeal labelmates Fashawn, Stro, Ezri, and Cantrell. See tour dates below, and RSVP for free online.

Upcoming Dates: 2/15 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall 2/16 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge 2/18 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry 2/19 – Milwaukee, WI – The Backroom @ Colectivo Café 2/21 – Chicago, IL – Reggie's Rock Club 2/22 – Pontiac, MI – Pike Room @ The Crofoot 2/24 – Toronto, ON – The Rivoli 2/26 – Montréal, QC – Le Belmont 2/28 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Downstairs 3/1 – New York, NY – S.O.B's 3/2 – Philadelphia, PA – Milkboy 3/3 – Washington, DC – DC9 3/5 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl

Continue Reading

Premiere: Diggy Bars Up And Puts It Down In 'Anchors' Music Video

Diggy had a big 2018, with the release of his sophomore album Lighten Up, a role on the Black-ish spinoff show Grown-ish, and an enlightening trip to Ghana for the Full Circle Festival with other members of black Hollywood elite. But he's looking to continue his run into the new year, and the Dionte-directed video for "Anchors" sees him unloading nearly four minutes straight of bars over an emotive evening ride through Los Angeles.

"The song is a true, unfiltered stream consciousness. There are no hooks, pauses or breaks," Diggy told VIBE about the offering from Lighten Up. "There are a few boastful moments where I’m speaking to who I am and what I’m capable of—and there other moments where I speak on how I feel, or the perceptions of others. It’s a great taste of what my album is as a whole. Unveiling the different layers of myself and moments I’ve had these past few years."

The music video for "Anchors" comes after the January release of the song "Lingo" with Jevon and Kida Kudz, and promises of an upcoming tour and another new project to be released this year.

Continue Reading
Neek Bucks

Premiere: Neek Bucks' New Video Addresses The Streets Trying To "Beat The Odds"

With a new smoother sound, featuring high strung guitar licks and trap claps, Harlemite Neek Bucks takes this newest track, "Beat The Odds," (produced by Dizzy Banko, The Beat Menace and Andrew Meoray) to task over the problems that face the youth in any hood USA. The video, with Bucks as director, is set against the cold, rugged blocks of NYC. As various young men gather on a corner by the neighborhood bodega, there seems to be an ill wind in the air. One can only image what can quickly turn from a cool gathering to something totally tragic when dealing with misguided youngin's and no one to cool hot heads. "I'm spending bucks with my team, but not livin' right/My bro was only 16 when ni---s took his life/I'm steady fighting these demons, it's a different fight/That's why I sip on codeine to help me sleep at night," Buck raps.

Shot by The Lost Footage visual creators, the scenes are raw elements of real time living among the constant threat of violence in a vicious cycle that seemingly never ends. To watch this video and not connect to it is hard, as we all either personally know situations depicted in this montage or have heard about them in the news. Regardless of the familiarity, the pain of losing those close to us over street violence never goes away. Shout to Bucks for bringing this glaring issue to the forefront.

To check out more of his music, hit up his Jay-Z inspired Streets Is Watching project at Neekbucks.com

Continue Reading

Top Stories