Chicago Soul Group the O’My’s Harmonize With CHI’s Hip-hop Community
The Chicago music community has finally caught up with The O’My’s. On paper you wouldn’t guess it, but the six-person band—which includes saxophone and trumpet—is one of the driving forces behind Chicago’s hip-hop renaissance, and what’s funny is they don’t even make hip-hop music.
This is a Chicago soul group. Not Curtis Mayfield or Brian McKnight per se (if you even call the latter soul), but simply music that speaks to humanity.
Although their first sold-out show at Metro last winter was definitely a sign, co-founders Maceo Haymes (vocals) and Nick Hennessey (vocals, keyboard) felt more confident when Chicago’s hip-hop community started to reach out and embrace their sound.
One of these acts was producer duo Blended Babies, natives of Chicago who now work in L.A and produced The O’My’s Chicago Style mixtape. They were the ones that got Ab-Soul on one of their unreleased jams. And they also got Chance The Rapper involved, though those connections run way deeper still.
“We met Chance several times just in the green room,” says Hennessey. “Chance was like the hype man for Vic Mensa and Kids These Days and was helping them out, being like the friend on tour and stuff like that. He would tell us, ‘Man, I’m working on my own music, we got to do something some time,’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, for sure.’”
That was as far back as the late 2000s. The collaboration would come to fruition several years later, in L.A., when Chance jumped on The O’My’s “Wonder Years,” on the recommendation of Blended Babies.
In early February, they’ve a new album arriving: Keeping The Faith. It’s the first incorporating the whole band in-studio, and they’ve taken studio experimentation, new writing techniques, not to mention their trademark raw vocals and hip-hop-inspired beats, and pushed them further, made them fuller, enhanced them, with the addition of the band. Kind of like their live set.
“Anybody that comes to a gig or even hears the music, for the most part, the reaction has been, ‘Oh my, oh man, that’s coming out of that dude’s mouth!’” jokes Haymes, whose raspy vocals have impressive range and versatility and grab at your soul. The whole band takes pride in skirting traditional boundaries when it comes to demographics and who’s digging their music.
“It’s kind of crazy,” says Hennessey. “People tell us like, ‘Oh, man, I actually came to your show because my dad was like, ‘We’re going to The O’My’s show, right? Like I already got the tickets.’ And my buddy who’s like tattooed on his neck, a graffiti writer, a relatively scary-looking individual, I peep him in the crowd knowing all the lyrics.”
Love Chicago music? Check out Green Label Live’s Chicago show on 02/22 featuring Rae Sremmurd, Casey Veggies, and Flat White.
Check The O’My’s newest EP, Keeping The Faith, here.