The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs) are an annual awards ceremony celebrating and recognizing the best of Omaha’s music, visual arts, and performance arts. Say Hey There is honored to present profiles on each of the 2015 Best Hip Hop/Rap nominees. Each artist or group spokesperson was asked the same series of questions in order to portray an honest profile of the music, the person or people behind the music, and what sets each apart from their peers. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on February 15, 2015 at the Downtown Omaha DoubleTree. Learn More »
Adam Robert Haug / Haunted Gauntlet / Producer
Brenton Gomez / Conchance / Emcee
Brian Crow / DJ Really Real / DJ
Best Hip Hop/Rap
Artist of the Year
Behind the Scenes
Haug: I have taken time to digest a wide variety of music. I started off playing music very young. There was always a guitar and drum set around. I was always very attracted to beats. My dad liked the blues, so I learned how to play blues guitar. In high school there was a lot of grunge, metal, and radio stuff. I started going to local shows and the music wasn’t watered down, it had more realness. That’s when I started forming my own bands. With M34N STR33T, I took all the things I learned from touring and being in bands and playing in shows and applied that to this recording project.
Gomez: When it comes to the production of the record (Mutants of Omaha), it was influenced by classics like doo wop that we find entertaining and we love because music back then was simplistic but holds this huge amount of beauty and makes you want to bop.
Haug: The M34N STR33T sound is 50s and 60s music mixed with a bunch of dialogue and samples all patched together, and we take Omaha’s best emcee and we have him rap on it. It’s the combination of all the musical influences I’ve had up to this point. That’s every genre I’ve listened to from rap to rock to indie rock. It’s all combined and collaged to make a new sound and there are no rules as far as what can and can’t be used. Everything is fair game when it comes to what to sample and what to use. With Mutants of Omaha, I started to realize that there was an aesthetic that was coming through that tied the whole thing together. The aesthetic is every song is a patchwork of different styles and different samples, but prior to starting M34N STR33T, for whatever reason, I was a listening to a lot of oldies music, a lot of doo wop. And that comes through.
Gomez: We try to keep it very real, very ancient, very live.
What Makes Them Different
Haug: First and foremost, we’re trying to inspire the people around us. We have a high standard for the music that we’re putting out and for what we expect out of each other when we perform and connect with people on a live level. We’re more experienced. We’ve been doing it longer. Our approach is different. We’re a new band, but Conny’s been rapping for a lot of years, I’ve been doing music for a long time, and Real has DJ’d for a lot of different rappers. We’re one of the only groups that does everything completely ourselves. We don’t sound like anybody else. We’re for everyone.
Gomez: Everything we do, we trying to do it with integrity to art, whether it’s releasing a record and really investing into a physical form for it, or if you go to a show you’ll have visuals that explain the art we’re speaking about in the project, and when we put out merchandise we invest in this stuff independently to produce a product for people to have and respect as Omaha. It’s about having art translated well from when you listen to it sonically to when you see it visually. We’re really out here building something bigger than us and something for our city so when somebody sees it from out of town they’re like, fuck these guys really put in a lot to make this come off like it does, and still be able to rock the house party and blow the speakers. It’s really about the whole package.
Deserves it Because
Gomez: The amount of work we’ve been putting into the project itself and shows and promotion. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes the right people notice it. All I know is that me and my team are out there really pushing shit. You go up to every single person you want to be at your show and look them in the eye and go “I’d really like you to be here.” That’s how you make it independently out here. Not everyone can make it to your show, but at least you gave people a physical invitation and said, “Please come out to my show, it would mean a lot, I’ve got some new art for you to witness.” I think that’s a pretty righteous reason to not necessarily deserve an award but for why I’d want my city to respect what we’re doing.
Haug: It’s not necessarily because we deserve it, it’s because it’s the clear choice. I think it shakes out mathematically. We’re a breath of fresh air for the city. If we quit doing M34N STR33T today, I think a lot of people would be upset, and it would crush a lot of hope for people who are trying to make hip hop and rap progress in Omaha. People need us here and want us here, and if we’re not around doing what we’re doing, Omaha’s not going to be as exciting, it’s not going to sound as cool, look as stimulating or creative, and it’s going to lose a lot of its flavor.
The Song to Check Out
Haug: The album is supposed to be a body of work that you listen to from beginning to end, but the song that probably translates to the widest audience is “Night Owl.” It’s the first song Conny rapped on, so it’s kind of a guideline for the rest. The sample we used is a very blatant sampling of a 50s song and it embodies our sound; we took an old thing and made it new. It’s infectious because of the hooks, and if you listen to the lyrics, there are so many things he touches on. If I had to pick one song, assuming no one had heard any of our music before, I would say “Nite Owl.”