Toronto based Hip-Hop artist A.O. Gorman has an extraordinary way of cutting through to the core of his audience. He taps into his 90's reminiscent influencers through productions that impart a laid back submission into the world of Hip Hop and R&B blending music coming out of the Lake-Facing Canadian metropolis. And extending from that, with an enthusiasm for music that intervened in his life at an early age, A.O. has developed his handling over songwriting. In turn, his lyricism works in exposing a genuine connection to the issues surrounding the unjust climate of America as well as the more light-hearted topics found throughout this record. Here on "In My Thoughts," the conscious attitude with which he broadcasts his sometimes sensual R&B reflecting vibes are magnetic, ultimately proving to be addicting. It's the type of Extended play that incorporates a broad range of artistic textures that A.O. has developed and grown comfortable in displaying; from his golden age Hip-hop style to rocking R&B alternatives that support a more laid back disposition in sway.
The opening track comes in on a flowy and mesmeric slide before a scattering of 32nd notes riffle off on the hi-hats prefaces the punching midsection of the drums ahead. Here, on "Free Flow," the samples run repetitious, but it doesn't stand deflective of A.O.'s energetic and bullet piercing flow and cantor. With whispers that flush and swell across the backdrops of this mix, it's probably the most modern and deep city sounding cut off of this extended play. It establishes a ghostly setting before devastating with a killer delivery of verbosity and rhythm over lyrics that weigh heavy with storytelling and description. Peculiarly, this song feels a little bit like sitting amongst the shadows of a campfire in the middle of a haunting specters tale about the woods behind you. In this way, it shows spooky in texture but never edges on the terminus of unpleasant.
The next track evaporates into existence through a mist of distant and whimsical echos of vocals that sound enigmatic and fair. It ends up sound like old school R&B in the way it sails in all smooth-like with the congas, then an addictive topline melody, and eventually AO Gorman's wicked vibing mantra, "swing your body girl, you got it, girl, I just wanna rock your world." Sensual, with cascading melodies and whispering harmonies, this song cuts as the most forward love-making beat off the record, establishing as music that wouldn't be outrageous to get warm and loving to, and more exposed when he says, "we can quarantine and chill."
"I.M.T." comes with a profound message relating to the continuing injustice surround the unsolicited deaths of innocent Americans at the hands of authority. It's 90's reminiscent and reflective of Ice Cube's storytelling cantor and flow from something like "Today Was A Good Day." or Nas in the early years. But here, A.O. uses this influence to express a critical message, the help of whispering ad-libs that injects this song with character and attention-grabbing texture also imparting a head-bob inducing vibe. With this framework, we can picture a healthy mindset around in the climate surrounding America with A.O.'s strong landing messages, organizing the immediate need for equity.
"Give Thanks" is next and grows of its predecessor's tail end as it evolves into a story about giving thanks and asking for strengths from the hailing powers above, whatever they may be. He does this all under the umbrella of a dripping organ solo support. Then there are fragments of upliftment and storytelling prowess through the vibrant pictures painted in "Take You Home," about the love and devotion a father has to his newborn kin. It masquerades amongst a slowed down half-tempo beat, and a mesmerizing backdrop of angelic vocal swells, as it describes the whole story behind his daughters birth. It's a dynamic and endearing display of the type of expression, vibe, and accounts this artist is capable of easily describing with his lyricism and golden-age reflective in the productions and instrumentations of AO Gorman's "In My Thoughts," breaking through to the core of his audience once more.
Discover "In My Thoughts" here.
Hello A.O. Gorman and thank you for joining us at BuzzMusic. What was the process of creating this record and releasing it amongst the dynamic and upset climate of 2020?
The process was tough but instinctive. As a natural creator, I leaned on my creative juices to weather through stressful and gloomy moments as they transpired through world events. I tapped into my inner core to create music which was very personal to me. With a series of events taking place in 2020, I felt like the perfect opportunity presented itself to share my personal life with the world and how I managed it through my EP release “In My Thoughts”. The feedback has been tremendous and has motivated me to keep on pushing forward, harder than ever.
What were the challenges you faced in deciding how to curate each track on this record, in order to impart that long last afterglow of which you are known for?
It took me 3 weeks to record this project in the midst of a pandemic. Because the studio was closed, I decided to go on Amazon and order all the home studio equipment needed to record myself. I got into a car accident and had to stay home for two months and with the birth of my firstborn child a week after the accident, I forced myself to lock in and record my most personal and impactful project to date hence the title “In My Thoughts”. I was going through so much in my personal life that music was the only way to vent or express my true feelings. I figured that I would capture a moment in history by making a 3-week time capsule of music that represented my Summer of 2020.
What stands out as your most impactful and favorite playing back from this record as a whole? and why?
It definitely is the main single “I.M.T”. This single is the EP wrapped up in one track. It embodies what the entire EP is about from having my first child, a major car accident, and the uprising of black people in response to the murder of George Floyd, as well as my inspiration for being a man.
What are you most excited for with Summer on it's way out and Autumn bringing a new unknown fortune with it
I’m just focused on creating captivating and creative music that represents the current landscape and mood during that time. I feel like I have so much more that I want to say to the world that I’m locked in the day and day out. So with the fall coming, I feel like it’s time to collaborate with other like-minded Emcees in Toronto, throughout Canada and internationally.