Adil Omar: Rapper meets songstress

Published: January 18, 2012
Pakistani rapper Adil Omar’s latest video “Ten Thousand” features a punk. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Pakistani rapper Adil Omar’s latest video “Ten Thousand” features a punk. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Between working on his album, releasing singles, designing a clothing line, travelling and making countless guest appearances, Adil Omar took out the time to give The Express Tribune an exclusive sneak peek into his anticipated track “Sugar Low”. The song is a duet with superstar Meesha Shafi. Produced by the Finland-based KFied, Talal Qureshi as well as former Overload member Mehmood Rehman, the song is scheduled for an April release and the video will come out in July.

How did it all get started; how did you get through to Meesha?

I got in touch with her as a fan and it turned out that Meesha was a fan of my work. Within a day of knowing her, we decided to do a song together. I sent her a few beats. Initially, I wanted her to be in “Hand Over your Guns” with Everlast but she liked the concept of “Sugar Low”. So we adjusted the song for her, met up in Lahore and started writing our respective parts.

What can you tell us about the concept for ‘Sugar Low’?

I feel that the song has a wider audience. The lyrical content is dark, almost like a bitter, resentful love song, but still upbeat. I’ve also experimented with a lot of electronic and industrial beats, which is sort of a departure from what I have been doing and what Meesha usually does. It is noisy but melodic; everything falls into place. I think, to the untrained ear it’s going to come across commercial. However, people who know my music will get that it is dark and gritty. I’d say it’s a relationship song with an interesting twist. The song’s still in the works. Some vocals are done and the foundation has been laid out. There’s even a chance that I might actually sing on it.

Any challenges throughout the process?

Well, I ended up getting a bad tooth infection so we could only do a demo version when I was at Meesha’s place. I need to wait for it to clear up before we can work again.

What’s Meesha like to work with?

I’ve only met her once before the collaboration when the band Overload came to Islamabad last year. But she’s like me, she even thinks like me. It also helps that we share a similar sense of humour. I’ll say that initially I was really star-struck but later it felt more like friends working together. Meesha’s parts are both in English and Urdu. The bridge she did in front of me sounded like a mix between hip-hop and rock, which is what I do and look for. Our song doesn’t really fit into a specific genre so I’d say it’s sprinkled with a bit of everything.

What do you like about her?

Well, her voice — it’s so unique, deep and husky. You know, I bet she could rap. I feel like she can do anything with her voice. She’s also a speedy songwriter and composed her parts of the song very fast.

Do you have any other projects lined up?

I just directed and edited a music video called “Ten Thousand”, the one with the punk girl. I recently did a single/video called “Lollipop” with singer Mina Fedora. I’m singing in this one and I’m not sure how my hardcore fans are going to receive it. I’m also working with Riz Ahmed from Four Lions and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. There is also a clothing line, 50 Feet Tall, that I’m doing with my cousin Kamil Rahim.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2012. 

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