Before his December 14th set at the Mohawk for Unfiltered – a show he curated with his Human Influence art collective as a platform for up and coming Hip-Hop artists –I asked Christopher Omenihu (O-many-who) if he was nervous. He looked at me as coolly as Tony Montana and said, “What do I need to be nervous about? This is what I do.”
I should’ve known then that the show would be fiyah, but I remained skeptical until he took the stage, gathered his dreads into a ponytail, and released the beast he had been inconspicuously hiding behind a calm demeanor – transforming from a seemingly nice, free-spirited young man passing out hugs and affirmations into a beast on the mic in the matter of seconds.
He transforms from a seemingly nice, free-spirited young man passing out hugs and affirmations into a Super Saiyan on the mic in the matter of seconds.
So who is this guy? In his own words, Omenihu is Austin’s “newest favorite rapper.” An ambitious claim for someone with one song on his Soundcloud, but don’t be fooled like I was by the number; this guy is ferocious and has a lot to say. Inspired by a mother that still works tirelessly to care for her family and others who are less fortunate, Omenihu is on a mission to uplift the human community by “helping people make better decisions,” and he is using every platform he can access to do so.
On top of being a rapper, podcaster, entrepreneur, (you name it!) Omenihu is a co-founder and CEO of Human Influence (HI), an Austin-based art collective “powered by creative humans” who recognize that Austin, despite the image it projects to the world, is lacking in creativity.
“I thought there was going to be so much creative everything. But people out here are defeated at times.” This defeat stems not only from the increasing financial burden to live here – with most people working multiple jobs just to maintain – but, also a lack of connection, particularly between people of different racial backgrounds.
What he made is a platform for different voices to be heard and ‘secrets’ to be passed from one group to another in order to facilitate growth and change, instead of rehashing problems.
Omenihu observes that people move to Austin for the advertised freedom but wind up falling into old cycles. Particularly cycles that perpetuate unspoken race rules like only associating with people of a similar background.
Human Influence was Omenihu’s solution to this problem. “Being on the outside looking in on a lot of things and being like, wait, if I haven’t found it now, I need to make it.”
What he made is a platform for different voices to be heard and “secrets” to be passed from one group to another in order to facilitate growth and change, instead of rehashing problems. HI’s fingerprints can be seen all over Austin through musical events for underrepresented genres, podcasts featuring influential creators (like Evelyn from the Internets), and a blog entitled “Design Your Life,” featuring articles on how to cultivate the life you want.
Recently, Omenihu released his first single on Soundcloud titled “#AllVibesMatter.” I asked him if he was worried about receiving backlash for naming his first single close to the dreaded retort to #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter, and I got the Tony Montana face again. “If I’m afraid of this with nothing on the table, I might as well hang it up now.” Touché
The song is not political in nature. With a hint of Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely,” the upbeat, fun, and catchy song is sort of Omenihu and Human Influence’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” if you will. Lyrics like “Your vibe /My vibe /Won’t collide but coincide” point to the group’s core belief that collaboration, not segregation will lead to more harmonious existence.
For Omenihu, this is just the beginning: “Can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m going to impact people through music. I’m going to be their new favorite rapper. And, in between all that, we’re going to continue to bring a gross amount of diverse people together. It’s going to be ugly.”
If you want a taste of the Omenihu experience, check him out this weekend December 31st @ Empire Control Room & Garage for Refresh 2017 – NYE alongside Capyac, RAS, Body Rock, MotherSIP. You can learn more about Omenihu, Human Influence, and #AllVibesMatter via Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, or virtually any other place you can think of on the internets.
- Facebook: Omenihu, Human Influence
- Twitter: Omenihu , Human Influence
- SoundCloud: Omenihu , Human Influence
- Websites: Omenihu , Human Influence