As with shotgun weddings and annulments, an artist’s time on a record label can be fleeting. Just two months after R&B singer Omarion signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in early June came the news that he was leaving to run his own imprint, Starworld Entertainment under EMI Records.
While some initially thought the former B2K frontman was dropped–suspicions that arose after his single, “I Get It In,” leaked to the Internet, shortly followed by a tweet from Young Money President Mack Maine stating that Omarion was “no longer with Young Money”–Omarion quickly skirted the rumor in a statement, also denying his involvement in the song’s leaking.
“I remember [Mack Maine] tweeting. He didn’t say I got dropped. He didn’t say anything,” Omarion tells VIBE. “I think because I haven’t been on the scene for a long time, people sometimes forget my history and forget that I had a career before Young Money. I’ve been in B2K, I’ve had a successful solo career, so nobody can ‘drop me,’ so to speak.”
The singer further maintains that he and Wayne remain on good speaking terms despite the sudden departure.
“We spoke and he pretty much was like, ‘Do what you wanna do and do your thing,'” says Omarion. “It’s no bad blood. It’s business.”
Since the news of his leaving also came days after Bow Wow announced signing to Cash Money, some speculated friction between the pair, who released a collaborative effort, Face Off, in 2007. Omarion denies any animosity there, too, calling Bow Wow a “good friend.”
“Business wise, Young Money and Cash Money are two totally separate entities. Wayne has his group of artists and Cash Money has its group of artists,” says O. “It is one big family but Bow Wow, he’s under Birdman. That didn’t have anything to do with me wanting to be released.”
Following B2K’s disbandment in 2004, Omarion dropped two solo projects, briefly linking with Timbaland for one of his biggest singles, “Ice Box.” More recently, he was featured on “Bria’s Interlude” from Young Money rapper Drake’s February mixtape, So Far Gone, and popped up on an early version of Young Money’s new single, “Bedrock.” Now prepping the release of his third solo album, Ollusion, due November 24, Omarion-who turns 25 that month-says he’s ready to step out on his own after being under the management of others for much of his career.
“The whole Young Money situation was a really, really great idea in the beginning,” he explains. “But when I really started to think about the history of superstars, you know, they stand alone, including Wayne, Kanye… So when I thought about that I really wanted to pursue, and at that moment I had an opportunity to not only be an entertainer and stand on my own, but be an entrepreneur.”
Ollusion features production from King, who co-produced “Icebox,” Detail, and Tank, who helmed the Gucci Mane-assisted lead single “I Get It In.” A video for the song is being shot next week.
“Sonically it’s kinda like passive aggressive. It’s definitely sexy like what I gave with ‘O,'” Omarion says of the album, adding that the title represents the falseness of the music industry. “A lot of people have to fake a front and pretend and have this persona. They might appear to be fearless but truthfully we all have fears. It’s not what you think it is. It’s an illusion.” —Clover Hope