Omegv: Ape.xxx Vol. 1

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Cards on the table: I don’t know all that much about hip-hop. I didn’t even learn that “beat tapes” were an actual thing until I stumbled upon the latest from Omegv. I’m still not 100% sure that I understand what they really are, either. Nevertheless, Ape.xxx Vol. 1 caught my ear recently, so I’m going to proceed to review it anyway. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to provide the super-sized grain of salt necessary to stomach this.

Ape.xxx Vol. 1 - Omegv

In a nutshell, Ape.xxx Vol. 1 is a small collection of smooth, dreamy vocal samples set to post-dubstep-esque beats. Now, keep in mind that this is a tiny nutshell. The beat tape is only four tracks total, with the longest offering clocking in at just over three minutes. But as anyone who has enjoyed yet endured tracks from DJs like xxyyxx will tell you, it does not do to dwell. Nobody wants to hear the same sample on repeat for five minutes. Sampling a song is not the same as re-mixing that song, as you are not obligated to use every line in a verse, every word in a line, or even every syllable in a word. Omegv seems to understand this, and he avoids it effectively. Each track introduces a sample, layers a beat over that sample, and ends before you even have the chance to get tired of hearing it. He also successfully avoids overcomplicating his songs. The samples aren’t chopped up and reversed in unintelligible sequences like xxyyxx’s are, nor set to random rhythmic sounds that stretch the very definition of the word “beat” like James Blake’s are. The beat-over-sample composites on each track are simply allowed to speak for themselves, and the formula just works.

Ape.xxx Vol. 1 is not without shortcomings. The bass levels tend to go beyond those pleasant low-end vibrations associated with post-dubstep, preventing the music from being heard at anything above a reasonable volume (without destroying your speakers). But even with less-than-stellar mixing, it’s a solid listen from start to finish. And at just seven minutes long in total, there are only so many excuses you can make not to just chill out with this tape on repeat.

Then again, what do I know about hip-hop?

About the Author

Mike KingMusic Editor. William Paterson graduate with a degree in English. Lead vocalist for My Eyes Fall Victim.View all posts by Mike King →