In her Fang2001 EP, Ojerime has succeeded in redefining the limits of her music and copping her own distinctive sound in the process. ‘R U Sure’, arguably the most poignant track of her EP pays homage to New Jack Swing and its tendency to fuse genres. Murky electronica meets revised R’n’B. A human voice is reversed, chopped up and intermixed with drum and base samples to create a layered intro. Atop this, Ojerime’s crooning vocals hark back to the Aaliyahs and TLCs of the late 90s era of R’n’B princesses, sparking enough nostalgia we too are seduced into “fuckin with [her] on the low, low”.
The eight minute-long feature visual accompanying ‘R U Sure’ alongside the ‘56 Plate Corsa Interlude’, is equally beguiling. From birds-eye to slow-mo to dolly; the camera shots are endless, and work to deftly capture a camo clad Ojerime and her beau, rising rapper Kadiata. Her fluid movements echo the dreamlike quality of her music, further illustrated by the orangey-purple hues of the twilight landscape.
The fabric of Ojerime’s music is a product of diverse interweaved soundscapes; this is likewise reflected in the visuals’ aesthetic. Whilst her beau’s shadowy form embodies the more sombre electronic sounds, in true Aaliyah form, Ojerime is never without an exposed midriff.
“Aaliyah’s ‘Hot Like Fire’ video has a dramatic cinematic feel achieved through mixing realist footage with an element of the surreal. Such is also present in Ojerime’s visual, in particular the trippy, double vision perspective the camera assumes in ‘56 Plate Corsa’.”
The former fashion graduate sites the 90s and noughties MTV Base style music video as the inspiration behind the cinematography and fashion of her own visual. We all fondly remember the baggy jeans and shirt combo that was so iconic of early R’n’B and gangsta rap, and Ojerime has carefully emulated it in her own visual – minus the bling. Aaliyah’s ‘Hot Like Fire’ video has a dramatic cinematic feel achieved through mixing realist footage with an element of the surreal. Such is also present in Ojerime’s visual, in particular the trippy, double vision perspective the camera assumes in ‘56 Plate Corsa’.
Ojerime tells me that in one sense, her preoccupation with this aesthetic is rooted in her regarding black female singers such as Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah and Missy Elliot as solid role models for young black women. Dazed and Confused accredited Missy Elliot as being one of the precursors of feminism, paving its way in modern day R’n’B and pop. Undoubtedly Ojerime is of the same opinion. Ojerime’s decision to channel these artists into her music, can be traced back to a girlhood spent singing Destiny’s Child songs on her Uncle’s London estate. Subsequent years followed when she would train her voice in the art of singing. Countless Youtube videos covering the likes of Jazmine Sullivan to Emeli Sande would be uploaded, and rappers to collaborate with would be located online. This steadily progressed into the south London artist familiarising herself with producers and sourcing instrumentals online, before establishing her own concrete sound which she coins as dark, rich and vulnerable.
Beyond ‘R U Sure/ 56 Plate Corsa’ the Brockley-based singer-songwriter prides herself on intricate song lyrics that are open to interpretation. Fang2001 blends futuristic sounds with Ojerime melodious voice. She entices us in her exploration into the underside of lust, in the magnetic ‘Showing You Off’, and reasons with us in ‘Kids With Depression’.
Despite having to navigate within an industry which is less than diverse, Ojerime has used her Nigerian and Jamaican heritage to further fuel her music. She tells me that as a black woman living in London, she feels compelled to represent females like her across the globe. Her voice in many ways has become a vehicle to express upon issues such as relationships, sexuality and mental health.
However, owning a sound compromised of varying genres means that some labels struggle to market her correctly. Often she feel managers will make ill-assumptions and skewed comparisons when it comes to understanding Ojerime as an artist, so patience is paramount. However the future gleams with promise. As it stands Ojerime has two EPs under her belt (Ojerime: The Silhouette being her other) and is currently song writing for artists. Her future plans are simple: she vows to keep creating and evolving, to build up her fan base and most of all to solidify her footprint within the industry.