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Album Review: Oompa’s “Unbothered” Builds a Legacy of Joy

5 Stars

"Unbothered" by Oompa Cover Image
"Unbothered" by Oompa Cover Image By Courtesy of Oompa / OompOutLoud
By Anya L. Henry, Crimson Staff Writer

When it comes to the Boston rap scene, it’s impossible for the name Oompa to go unnoticed. An acclaimed rapper and spoken word poet known for her unfaltering flow and authentic storytelling, Oompa’s music is truly art, embodying the intersection of earnest introspection and lively beats. Two years after the release of her 2019 album “Cleo,” Oompa has finally released her much-awaited third album entitled “UNBOTHERED.” Oscillating between poignant lyricism and phenomenal production, Oompa’s “UNBOTHERED” serves as a constant reminder that joy will always persist in the face of struggle.

To solidify this theme, she begins the album with clear positive affirmations in the opening track “AMEN”: “I want my peace, I want my space,” she repeats above a slow drum accented tempo. Her coos of “AMEN” acknowledge that she knows exactly what she needs to grow — her peace is inextricable from her space. Beyond the lyrics, the echoing vocals and sultry guitar elements send listeners into another realm, providing that desired space for her message to ring through. The following title track “UNBOTHERED” leans fully into this conversation as Oompa implores her listeners to take actions towards finding the same peace she seeks. In the chorus, she advocates a redefining of self-care and self-improvement to include “therapy...loving on your tribe, when they call you on your shit learn to take that shit in stride.” Layered over a banging bass, Oompa’s desire to uplift her listeners feels both pressing and reflective — the words of someone who has dealt with their own difficulties and come out on the other side.

However, “UNBOTHERED” is not simply a reflective beacon of advice — it is also a celebration of everything from queer sexuality to reclaimed agency. In the sultry “WHERE MY SILKY?” squeaking bed sounds and pounding production transport listeners to Oompa’s bedroom as she proclaims “My heart ain’t up for grabs but my night is.” A love letter to both durags and lesbians everywhere, the seductive energy on this track is infectious. While Oompa sings about cravings for “the places where it be milky, yeah,” it’s apparent how comfortable she is in both her queerness and her sexual presence.

All of these themes come to a head in perhaps the most earnest track of the album, “DEEP.” A pounding bass, quiet electric guitar, and oscillations between lighter breathy vocals and pitched down chanting mirror the physical pace of Oompa’s tryst. Oompa leans into this musical duality as perhaps a further metaphor for her own two-sided identity. As she states, she’s both a “n*gga in these streets but a femme in these sheets.” With ease, Oompa lets listeners into her bedroom in a way that mixes vulnerability and relatability. This confidence reverberates throughout her other pieces as she demonstrates an unwillingness to alter herself for the consumption of others.

The tracks “LEBRON” and “OUTTA PATIENCE” are perhaps the most explicit in this message. In “LEBRON,” a heavy bass and a deepened set of vocals contrast with lighter clicking sounds and a rapid flow to produce a high-energy proclamation of Oompa’s abilities. Definitely leaning towards a hype anthem, “LEBRON” finds Oompa praising her own accomplishments as she says, “You do what you can, I do what I want.” This energy carries over through “OUTTA PATIENCE” as Oompa’s frustrated flow picks up speed in between acknowledgments that she’s “running outta patience.” Her impatience is for good reason — as she says, and listeners would agree, she’s a “supernova.” For someone with so much talent to remain improperly recognized by the industry is a travesty. If this album is any indication, Oompa deserves her accolades.

In “LAKYIRA SAID (Interlude),” Oompa reflects on the meanings of legacy, acknowledging that, “Legacy is a record of the life you live — present tense… If I’m gonna be here, I don’t wanna only keep record of the things trying to kill me — I wanna keep record of the things that tried to keep me.” In all respects, “UNBOTHERED” encapsulates Oompa’s legacy — a poignant acknowledgment of her struggles, her progress, her queerness, her desires, her hopes, and her successes. It is a collection of her pains as well as a collection of her joys. It is personal, unapologetic, inspirational, and incredibly deserving of all the glowing receptions it will receive.

— Staff writer Anya Henry can be reached at anya.henry@thecrimson.com.

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