A songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer whose predominantly relaxed output is a synthesis of live instrumentation and samples, Iman Omari has been working outside the margins of commercial R&B and hip-hop since the early 2010s. Amid audience-expanding collaborations with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Robert Glasper, he has numerous solo releases to his credit, the beat tape compilation High-Loops & Higher-Loops (2015) and the song-oriented IHY (2017) among them.
Born in Compton, California, Iman Omari is self-taught, though he graduated from the Academy of Music and Performing Arts at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. He made inroads through work with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller, co-producing "Chapter Ten" for the former's Section.80 and contributing to multiple tracks on the latter's Macadelic. During this period, he began to issue a prolific quantity of his own material, and gradually came into his own as a multi-faceted artist with an atmospheric sound drawing from Stevie Wonder, Bilal, and J Dilla. As download-only projects arrived in steady supply, he also issued higher profile works from 2011 through 2015, such as the Energy EP, the MoRuf collaboration Euphoria, and (Vibe)rations. Moreover, there was High-Loops & Higher-Loops, which combined beat EPs for cassette and download release via the Fresh Selects label. Kendrick Lamar used the tape's "Omari's Mood" for his performance at the 58th Grammy Awards in February 2016.
Omari continued to pop up on his peers' recordings, including Denmark Vessey and Gensu Dean's Whole Food and Quelle Chris' Being You Is Great! I Wish I Could Be You More Often. All the while, Omari worked on his own discography. IHY, a song-oriented LP supported with appearances from Quelle Chris, Jean Grae, Anna Wise, and Muhsinah, arrived in 2017. Its "Move Too Fast," the collaboration with Wise, was heard in an episode of Insecure's third season the following year. Among Omari's other 2018 highlights were the single "Another" and a featured spot on Robert Glasper and Kaytranada's ArtScience Remixes. ~ Andy Kellman