Adil Omar

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Adil Omar
عادل عمر
Birth nameAdil Omar
Born (1991-05-17) 17 May 1991 (age 28)
London, United Kingdom
OriginIslamabad, Pakistan
GenresHip-Hop, psychedelic, industrial, pop, alternative hip hop, experimental hip-hop, psychedelic rock
Occupation(s)Rapper, record producer, singer-songwriter, musician, filmmaker
InstrumentsVocals, lyrics, rapping, production, keyboards, sampler, drums
Years active2004 – present
Associated acts

Adil Omar (born 17 May 1991) is a recording artist, rapper, record producer, singer and songwriter from Islamabad, Pakistan. He released his debut album and film, Transcendence, on 8 July 2018, and announced his second album, Mastery, for a 2020 release. In addition to being a solo artist, he is also one half of the pop songwriting and production duo SNKM.

Biography and early life[edit]

Omar was born in London, England, but grew up in Islamabad. He lost his father at the age of 10 due to alcoholism and saved his mother's life at 11.[1] He had a speech impediment and a stutter throughout his childhood which he cured through rapping. He was thrown out of multiple schools and eventually dropped out at 17 to pursue a career in music.[2][3]

Music career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Omar was inspired by Dr. Dre to become a hip hop artist at the age of 8 after watching "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" and started writing lyrics and rapping at the age of 9 after listening to Wu-Tang Clan. He began recording and producing music by 13. In 2008, Omar caught the attention of B-Real of Cypress Hill who invited him to visit Los Angeles, helping launch his music career.[4]

Between 2010–2012, Omar put together The Mushroom Cloud Effect, a street album consisting of compiled tracks and unheard demos of Omar's early rapping and non-production work with Soul Assassins affiliated producers such as Fredwreck, DJ Solo and DJ Lethal handling the music. The most notable song was "Paki Rambo".[5][6] This was during press coverage on BBC, CNN, The Associated Press and many other news outlets which brought Omar considerable attention, but which he also felt was "heavily politicized", an angle which he wanted to avoid. This was also followed by a near death experience, professional mismanagement and a government imposed YouTube ban which momentarily affected the distribution and exposure of not only Omar but all independent musicians in the country.[4][7][8][9][10]

2015–2017: SNKM and Margalla King[edit]

In early 2015, Omar and longtime friend, Pakistani electronic musician Talal Qureshi, formed the super-group, songwriting and production duo SNKM which came out with Omar's directorial debut for "Nighat & Paras" and was followed by their first showcase at SXSW.[11][12][13]

In early 2016, SNKM collaborated and performed with Diplo and Elliphant for their first Pakistan show. This was followed by the duo's second appearance at SXSW and Omar's solo EP Margalla King. The EP also featured a collaboration with Bun B.[13][14][15]

SNKM joined the roster for multiple Mad Decent Block Party 2016 shows alongside Diplo, Kesha, Marshmello, Rae Sremmurd and others. The duo continued performing and touring with Diplo, Major Lazer, Skrillex, Valentino Khan and other artists throughout 2017 up until early 2018 when Omar and Qureshi returned to their solo efforts.[16][17]

2017–2019: Transcendence[edit]

Omar announced in late 2017 that his self-produced debut studio album Transcendence will be released in 2018.[18][19] Transcendence was released as a 10-song visual album on 8 July 2018. The lead single was "We Need to Talk About Adil" and guests on the album included Elliphant, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Shaman Durek, Talal Qureshi, SNKM and others. The album also included recreations of 1970's and 80's era Lollywood soundtracks, but rather than relying on sampling, Omar reached out to some of the original creators such as Ustad Tafu and M. Arshad and hosted live sessions in his home studio Bisonopolis, Islamabad.[20] The instrumental version of the album was released on 8 October 2018.[21]

Shortly after the release of Transcendence, Omar announced that he was working on his second album, Mastery, for a 2020 release.[3][2][22]

2019–present: Mastery[edit]

The first preview and title track for Mastery was released on Noisey on 7 February 2019 in which Omar channels Raul Julia's portrayal of Street Fighter villain M. Bison, a character he resonates with since his 2012 electrocution incident.[23] A second single titled "Mission" was released with a lyric video on 28 April 2019 with cover art paying homage to Timecop and has been described as a "futuristic song that can’t be put in any one genre".[24] On 30 November 2019, Omar headlined Pepsi's first ever hip-hop show in Pakistan for Pepsi Black to positive reviews from attendees and reporters for a "surprising, unconventional and animated" performance.[25]

On 12 January 2020 Omar released "The Great Unraveling" which featured Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio on guitars and a music video set in Jungle World, Rawalpindi to mostly positive reviews.[26][27]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Omar has been described as "cartoonish, colorful and animated",[22] His production has been described as "bass-heavy" consisting of "a combination of foreign influences, psychedelic rock vibes, industrial sounds, bright synths, and progressive musical structures."[22][3]

Omar has cited Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor and Wu-Tang Clan as major influences.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Omar was born with sound-color synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the person afflicted sees colors when tones are sounded.[28][29][30]

In 2012, Omar was nearly electrocuted to death in the shower, an incident he talks about on Transcendence.[31]


For SNKM, see the SNKM article




  1. ^ "Rapper breaks new ground in conservative Pakistan". Yahoo News Philippines. 1 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Why we need to talk about Adil Omar". 21 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Khan, Rayan (3 October 2011). "Adil Omar: Paki Rambo, uncut - The Express Tribune". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  7. ^ Khan, Laaleen (16 October 2011). "In conversation with Adil Omar, hip-hop's 'Paki Rambo' – The Express Tribune Blog". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 16 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Asghar, Vaqas (9 April 2013). "Talking Mushroom Clouds with Adil Omar - The Express Tribune". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  10. ^ Lee, Jinjoo (7 August 2013). "Pakistani artists challenging YouTube". CNN. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  11. ^ "New Music Videos, Reality TV Shows, Celebrity News, Pop Culture | MTV". 30 September 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Adil Omar | SXSW 2015 Event Schedule". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  13. ^ a b Asghar, Vaqas (30 March 2016). "From 'Paki Rambo' to 'Margalla King' - The Express Tribune". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Islamabad raises hands for DJ Diplo - The Express Tribune". 27 February 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  15. ^ "SXSW 2016: Artists from Pakistan shine". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Adil Omar, Talal Qureshi to perform with Diplo, Kesha at Mad Decent Block Party - The Express Tribune". 12 August 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Here's what went down at Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party feat. Adil Omar, Talal Qureshi - The Express Tribune". 25 August 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Diplo to perform in Pakistan next year". 22 December 2017.
  19. ^ "There is no fear Solo album 'TRANSCENDENCE' in". 19 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Adil Omar's debut album 'Transcendence' is a visual treat | The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 8 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b c
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "People with synesthesia". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  29. ^ "Why we need to talk about Adil Omar". 21 July 2018.
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links[edit]