Shortly after Christmas Weekend, an associate introduced me to Detroit’s newest up and coming artist Oba Rowland and his project “Black Santa.” The heavy-set, gifted artist from one of the most poverty stricken areas in the United States of America sounds more than ready to deliver his gift to every trap in need of something new.
Black Santa delivers the first package on “My Dawg” courtesy of Vibehaus producer iRocksays, The message is clear, they are informing those who do not know, that Oba is here to stay and has no worry about who the naysayers say may be “next.” He welcomes you to his city with a flow cadence that one would say resembles Big Sean. iRock's bass heavy production paired with subject matter leads him straight into his next track, Still Here, featuring Payroll, from the home-based group Doughboyz Cashout. As you listen to the project, you can easily tell that his production sparks the liveness of Oba's personality and creativity. His influence is very much present, as he shows up on the project more than any of the other producers. iRock shows if anybody wondering, that he has the key to what it takes to keep Oba's core fans excited and wanting more of that raw Detroit sound.
Santa also seems to know the music fans need versatility. He lightens up the mood with the melodic hook on “Tonight”. He doesn’t fail to remind his listeners that he likes having good times just like everybody else, but its natural to respond to any negativity. On “You” he seems to have just left that very club in a good mood, with a beautiful woman that makes him change his playlist to fit the situation.
It’s safe to say for most of us from the trap life, those moments are few and far between. Oba and Rocaine continue Santa’s journey taking you on a audio ghetto ride through their neighborhood. The fast-paced high energy track named after the duo explains what the daily life in their environment can turn one’s mindset into.
It’s been said in the answers to “Who is Oba Rowland?” that he has a close friendship with Detroit’s new First Lady, Dej Loaf. In the project though, he doesn’t seem to use that to his advantage and has no intention of riding her coattails. Very close to the middle of his delivery route, he mentions how close they are and what he would do to protect her. You can almost hear the loyalty and truth through the heavy emotions with the smooth west coast vibe of “Know.”
Dej Loaf then appears on the homestretch of Black Santa’s route to lend a helping hand to ensure a prompt delivery. He seems to be one who doesn’t need much help from others in a creative sense, but the more the merrier. It doesn’t come off as if Rowland has any sort of identity crisis or “average” sound.
The D’s Black Santa delivers versatility, emotion, and ambition as he continues to finish his work while simultaneously giving us listeners a verbal tour around his north pole like city. Statistics show there are more than just a few somebodies listening. I've spoken with some Detroit natives with nothing but positive feedback about Oba as a personality. The well respected artists of his area happen feel the same way, the chemistry of the collaborations are actions that speak higher volumes than just your laptop speakers.
It’s very possible that he could be the newest face of the Detroit Rap scene. His abilities will make an impact, expect to hear more from Mr. Rowland this upcoming year, possibly make his Black Santa route a annual routine delivery.