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2007 Rewind – Omarion: Three Times Dope

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Nobody predicted how successful the song “Ice Box” was going to be; not even Omarion himself. The song that propelled his sophomore album 21 straight to the top of the charts is now commanding attention across the world. It isn’t shocking though, since the charismatic triple-threat has earned his stripes in this game as a dancer, singer and actor. His success, as he puts it, is all due to the Man upstairs.

Omarion has grown up right before our eyes. From B2K to You Got Served, he is one of few deserving of the title entertainer. But even someone as adorable as O falls victim to crazy rumors of blowouts with Bow Wow and pirating fans, both of which he dispels in his conversation with AllHipHop.com Alternatives. As Omarion tests his acting waters further with two movies due out this summer, he still loves his mic and his dancefloor dearly. In fact, Omarion can’t even bring up a song without having the urge to sing it.

With a little help from his mother, we found out more about Omarion’s previous professional rollerblading career, his made-up girlfriend Jazzy and a hopeful sequel for You Got Served. On top of all that, the man does a great 50 Cent impersonation.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How has 2007 been treating you so far?

Omarion: Everything has been really great, just a blessing so far. Beyond my career, not even chart-wise, not even album-wise, I’m really in a good spiritual place.

AHHA: I have to ask you…I saw the video footage from Power 105 in New York when you came in and battled with Crazy Legs [of the Rock Steady Crew]. Not that you had any cause for concern with your skills, but what was that like battling a dance legend?

Omarion: Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a b-boy. I can do it a little bit, but the reason why I had to get at him was because I had to do an interview after him [at Power 105]. So they’re asking him in the interview, “So Crazy Legs, who would win in a battle between you and Omarion” and like other people. And [Crazy Legs] was like, “Ain’t Omarion coming up here? I hope he’s listening right now.” I was like, “Whoa!” It was fun and games, but as soon as I got up there we started going. [laughs] It was really fun and plus I really respect him. For him to acknowledge me as a performer and shake my hand and say “You’re great; you really do your thing.”

To be respected among the O.G. cats, the people that laid the foundation, it’s always appreciated in my eyes. Like I wish I was able to meet James Brown to just say, “You’re a great performer. I love what you do” or for me to even tell him, “Yo James! I remember this performance or I loved that.” I think it’s important to know your history and the cats that really put it down when it comes to what you do.

AHHA: So what was the situation between you and Bow Wow with the Scream Tour?

Omarion: Truthfully, boys are gonna be boys. Me and Bow Wow have a really good professional relationship. We’re all good now, but just like all friends fight, it just happens. Disagreements.

AHHA: I interviewed Sisqo recently and he admitted that in a dance off between you, him, Chris Brown and Usher, you’d beat everybody! Do you agree that you would?

Omarion: [laughs] Oh wow. That is such a compliment. I don’t wanna say yes, but… [laughs]

AHHA: Maybe?

Omarion: Yeah! I’m gonna say maybe. [laughs]

AHHA: So your sneaker game is pretty hot! What’s your favorite sneaker to dance in?

Omarion: It depends on the kind of dancing, really. I can dance in pretty much any shoe, but when I wanna be more explosive and wanna do more footwork and glides and stuff like that I like to wear boots, like Timberlands. If I’m jumping and doing splits or doing backflips then just regular sneakers like Air Force Ones. Adidas are good too because they’re real light.

AHHA: Crazy Legs says jeans are the worst pants to break in.

Omarion: Yeah definitely. When I started training – because I had to train lightweight for You Got Served – that’s the only reason I know how to b-boy just a little bit. If you look at any b-boys when they’re chillin’ or they’re hangin’ out, their style of dress is never in jeans. They always have sweats on or cutoff shorts.

AHHA: Speaking of You Got Served, is it true about You Got Served 2?

Omarion: Yeah, we’re actually just waiting for the proper script to be presented, but we definitely want to do another performance movie. With the success of Stomp the Yard and You Got Served I think another film like that has to come out. We need another You Got Served I feel.

AHHA: Definitely. You and Marques [Houston] have been doing a lot of movies together. Is there any chance for an album?

Omarion: [laughs] No probably not. Probably a record, but not an album. That’s my bro, and as a lot of people know we’re tight knit, but I don’t know if we could ever do an album.

AHHA: There’s a rumor going around about you dating an artist named Jazzy?

Omarion: No, who’s Jazzy? No, I’m very single. I’m not gonna say that I’m looking, but I’m very single. [laughs] Single and ready to mingle. Yeah I heard that rumor too and it’s pretty funny to me because I don’t even know Jazzy.

AHHA: There was also the rumor of you walking down the street with Jazzy and a street fight going on over a fan that downloaded your album, and Jazzy stepped to her.

Omarion: Yeah, I heard that one too. I mean truthfully, I never could be with…[laughs] I don’t even know how that story came about but I don’t like a quarreling type of girlfriend. That’s just crazy. I could never even imagine me being with a chick who was like, “Nuh-uh. Download?” I mean, come on! Everybody downloads.

AHHA: Let’s talk about the album. People are complaining that records aren’t selling like they used to, yet 21 drops and it pushes record sales like it’s supposed to. What do you feel your secret is?

Omarion: Don’t get me wrong – aside from real strategic advertisement and making sure that the album sure the album comes out on time – besides the business part, for me it’s the man upstairs, truthfully. It’s the [record] company too, but for me it’s the man upstairs putting it all together. Seriously.

AHHA: Did you have any idea that “Ice Box” would take your album to the next level like it did?

Omarion: No I didn’t. It’s funny how that record came about, because the album was done [without “Ice Box”]. “Entourage” was already out, and we probably were going to pick another single from the album that was done. We reached out to Timbaland, and I told my boy if it happens it was meant to be. Everything about the single, my emotions, the concept behind the record was just perfect. So the song was supposed to happen. You gotta think that Timbaland is not gonna not get paid, so we had to do a lot of business as far as reopening the budget. There’s a lot of stuff that came behind it, and it worked itself out. It’s like a really, really big hit, and I’m really, really thankful.

AHHA: On your song “What Are We Doing?” you say “I can’t believe I just made love to my dear friend, I pray that this isn’t damaging in the end.” Do you feel it’s a good idea to cross that line with a friend of yours?

Omarion: No, I don’t think so. I think it messes up everything. Ok, put it like this – when people get in relationships, for some odd reason they kind of change. They change from being really really good friends, like say if you have a friend and she’s cool and she has a guy you don’t trip. But if you end up being affectionate and start liking each other and she goes for someone else, you’re like, “Hey man, what the hell?” There’s like rules in a relationship and rules in a friendship. I think the idea of being with your best friend is dope. Like when I actually do get married, I hope my wife is my best friend too.

AHHA: On this track you also do a little rapping at the end. Would you ever pull a Black Ty alter ego and rap?

Omarion: [laughs] Naw, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. [laughs]

AHHA: Who are some of your favorite MC’s?

Omarion: I think Cassidy is dope. Snoop, big Snoop! The Game, Lil’ Wayne be gettin’ off…Lil’ Weezy. DJ Quik, Krayzie Bone be gettin’ off too, and Juelz Santana…Juelz be like “Ay!” 50 Cent too. I love his flow he be like [Omarion then does a pretty damn accurate 50 Cent impersonation]. His flow is ridiculous. I think words are dope, but I’m telling you right now, Fitty be like [another damn good 50 Cent impersonation]. When I first heard it I was like “Damn!”

AHHA: Back to your album, what’s your favorite song on the album?

Omarion: “Do It” because the beat and what it’s talking about. It’s a pretty interesting story. I think it’s pretty funny.

AHHA: One thing about your music is that you tell a story, which is a lost art in music. What would you say is one of your favorite stories, like a book or storytelling song that inspires you to keep those messages in your music?

Omarion: Definitely “It’s a Man’s World.” That’s a cold record! There’s a Donny Hathaway song too. “Mary Go Round” by Musiq Soulchild too.

AHHA: Your fanbase is pretty intense. Has anything completely crazy happened to you?

Omarion: [laughs] Not anything recently. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have my young fans, but now they grew up with me since B2K. They’re grown. A few of my fans that I’ve known for a long time, they have kids now. I still have the pandemonium factor, but in the same sense I have grown fans. When I see them it’s all good.

AHHA: Any fan moment from even B2K that stuck with you?

Omarion: Yeah we were pulling out of a venue and there was this bridge and this girl jumped from the bridge on top of the bus. I was like, “What the…what is she thinking?”

AHHA: What? Did she hurt herself?

Omarion: Nope, those little girls be like ten men. They’re strong.

AHHA: So you’ve been in the industry since you were what, five?

Omarion: [laughs] Yeah I’ve been dancing for that long, but in entertainment [turns to his mother] Mama how long would you say? No mama, you can’t say, “Since I was born.” Ok seven, when I was a professional rollerblader and rollerskater.

AHHA: How come you weren’t in Roll Bounce?

Omarion: See, that was years before. I stopped rollerblading. [laughs]

AHHA: So which would be more tragic for you as an entertainer: laryngitis or a twisted ankle?

Omarion: Dang. That’s really hard. I would say a twisted ankle, because if you have laryngitis, you can fix that. But if you have a twisted ankle it won’t be the same.

AHHA: Being that you’ve modeled in so many clothing ads, do you have any plans for your own clothing line?

Omarion: Yeah probably in the next year or two, probably do a nice clothing line for the young businessman.

AHHA: So what’s next for you?

Omarion: I have two films coming out this year, which should be interesting because I think they’re coming out around the same time, close to the summer. One film is Reggaeton, which Jennifer Lopez produced. We shot it in Puerto Rico, which was really fun because I got a whiff of the culture. My character, his name is Rob, and he has ambitions of becoming a rapper. He’s from New York, so I think it’s gonna be pretty interesting to showcase my acting. It definitely shows my range. I’ve got a love scene, I’m crying. It’s pretty serious so I want to see what people think about it, because it’s definitely a breakout role for me.

Then I have another one called Somebody Help Me, myself and Marques Houston. It’s gonna be real real tight, being that it’s a scary film. When you go to scary films nowadays, they’re like really grueling and really gruesome. Don’t get me wrong, that’s cool and we have a little element of that in the movie but you don’t have the movies that young kids can go see anymore. Like, remember when Scream came out or I Know What You Did Last Summer? This film would be in that category. And, what’s brilliant about the film is that the Black people don’t die first so…[laughs]

AHHA: Finally! The last Black actor who survived in a scary movie was Brandy right?

Omarion: Yeah, I know right! [laughs] That’s gonna be real tight.

AHHA: Do you think you’d ever make the switch completely over to acting?

Omarion: Because of the guys I look up to like the Rat Pack – Sammy [Davis Jr], Frank Sinatra. Back in the ‘50s, that’s what you had to have. You had to be able to dance, sing, and act. That was entertainment. So I would consider myself an entertainer, and lean more towards entertainment, even if it is acting or singing or playing an instrument. Whatever it is, I’m gonna do it. If it’s to entertain you, I’m gonna do it.

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