In R&B, confidence comes with the territory. I’m sure lots of us can relate to the idea of a song being a little too hot for daily use. Listening to Giveon singing about unspeakable things while accidentally making awkward eye contact with an elderly couple on the train is a feeling I’m sure some of you can relate to a little too much, a feeling I’ve nicknamed “I really, really hope my headphones are plugged in right now.”
All this to say that having a confident artist making music about intimacy and relationships in R&B is not new but there’s a reason why Omar Apollo’s style of confidence stands out.
A lot of R&B is either hyper confident about someone’s place in a relationship (e.g. Brent Faiyaz Dead Man Walking or Don’t by Bryson Tiller) or hyper vulnerable (e.g. Higgs by Frank Ocean) and although there are some songs in the middle, usually the confidence scales with their control over the relationship. This is where Apollo differentiates himself. Songs like Endlessly are actually about being rejected or a relationship falling apart, but instead of sitting with the pity and reminiscing in a negative way, in Endlessly, it feels as if Omar Apollo is shedding the blame of the lost love and instead considering the relationship in a more honest retrospect, putting the ball squarely in his lover’s court with lines like “if you change your mind, don’t wait ‘till the moment’s right.” and “you ain’t even touched me in so long.” This style of R&B comes with such an inherent confidence and understanding of one’s own self worth which is infectious, one of the many reasons why Omar Apollo’s music is worth a listen. I’ve linked some of my faves as well as the other songs I’ve mentioned in the article below. Enjoy ;)
Giveon, Like I Want You: https://open.spotify.com/track/6qBFSepqLCuh5tehehc1bd?si=ToYJh1l5QnSNkz_9UrV1lA
Omar Apollo, Endlessly:
Brent Faiyaz, Fuck The World (Summer In London):
Frank Ocean, Higgs:
Bryson Tiller, Don't: