Omar Tyree, known to millions of book readers as “The Godfather of Urban Fiction,” and author of the urban classic novel, “Flyy Girl,” penned a revolutionary reggae song back in the early summer of 2016 with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley in mind to perform it. At the time, Barack Obama was still the President of the United States of America, and police brutality was just as rampant then as it is now.
Inspired by Jr. Gong’s Jamaican anthem, “Welcome To Jamrock,” Tyree wrote and referenced “No Bang Bang” as a new American anthem against police brutality in the vein of Jr. Gong’s father, Bob Marley and his classic, “I Shot The Sheriff.” Tyree then shared the song reference with hundreds of music listeners at various poetry clubs and networks. And the listeners all loved it!
So did the track’s producer, the Oakland-based Push Keyz, a big fan of reggae music himself, who layered the moody beat with the familiar bass, horns, drums, police sirens and feel that would make any reggae lover sit up and pay attention. And with Tyree’s writing skills and command of a Jamaican accent, Push Keyz immediately labeled “No Bang Bang” a hit record.
Tyree then met up with Jr. Gong Marley at a small concert performance in Washington, DC, in the following year of 2017 in the hopes that the Marley legend would love the song as well and agree to bless it with his authentic Jamaican voice and artistry. But after several follow-ups calls with the Marley camp, a performance of the Tyree written, Push Keyz produced song never materialized.
That led Tyree to consult with his Jamaican film partner, Steve “Tehut-9” McAlpin, a poet and songwriter himself, who advised the West Philadelphian to release the song with his own performance. The Jamaican poet explained that the internationally known Marley would never agree to perform a song for a man who is not even known for music. So… the book writer allowed the song idea to sit and pick up dust, believing that his window of opportunity had closed as another dream deferred.
Until now, as Tyree prepares to unleash an album entitled “The Last Summer,” a compilation project with songs aimed at the CoronaVirus pandemic and the continuation of racial injustice and profiling in America.
Tyree says, “The time couldn’t be more perfect then it is right now to release and perform this song. And if that means I have to become a musician… then so be it. Great stories are told in music too.”
The challenge now becomes marketing the song through the ranks as a beginner, instead of from the mountaintop with a “Jr. Gong” Marley recording.
Tyree says, “Basically, I don’t have a choice. We don’t have a choice as a people. We need every opportunity for our art to help heal, educate, inspire and guide us in these dark times, and not enough of these young new artists are stepping up to do that. They look at art like they’re selling cheeseburgers. It’s just business as usual. So I’m forced to lead by example, and hopefully show these kids what real art is capable.”
“No Bang Bang” is available now on all streaming platforms with “The Last Summer” album coming shortly, featuring Tyree and a list of young, up-and-coming artists, who allowed the Philadelphia visionary to write, produce and guide the direction of the music.
For more information on Omar Tyree in the music world, view his web site @ www.HotLavaEntertainment.com