Omar Apollo Cements His Star Power With 'Ivory'
Photo: Gustavo Garcia-Villa
Being one of the most promising rising artists of the moment, there was a subtle yet substantial expectation Omar Apollo had to carry while delivering Ivory, and upon arrival, it's clear this project is a humble wink at anyone who dared to doubt him.
That kind of expectation could drive a still-establishing artist mad, confining themselves to a safe sound everyone would be satisfied by. However, as a multifaceted artist, it wouldn't be an Apollo project if it wasn't everything all at once. He didn't dilute himself to singularity; he committed to truth, expression, and fluidity.
From the yearn for affection to charming arrogance, Ivory gives us all of Apollo. Though you can taste hints of Frank Ocean, his sound is his and his only. There isn't another artist that can seamlessly transition from the traditionally Mexican sonnet "En El Olvido" to the cocky Neptunes-produced banger "Tamagotchi" with such fluidity that it makes every hairpin turn feel like second nature.
There's more precision on this project than any of his previous - he knows what he's meant to prove. Right in that sweet spot between up-and-coming and well-established, "Evergreen" is his declaration of vocal ability, giving us the Gen Z "Love on the Brain" we didn't know we needed. Production also wasn't compromised, with the groovy "No Good Reason" featuring drums by Knox Fortune and Carter Lang's acoustic strumming on the atmospheric track "Petrified" deepening its romance.
Though Kali Uchis and Daniel Caesar are names we're certainly familiar with, only having two features on this project really protects its sense of intimacy. Ivory is a raw reflection of how far Apollo has come and the life he's lived in the meantime - love, speedbumps, and all.
If you've been lucky enough to witness the steady blooming of this enviable artist from the start, Ivory is a gold medal. This album is the reward for knowing what the rest of the world has now finally come to realize: Omar Apollo is a star.
Listen to Ivory below: