Omar Apollo – Spite

After a massive run on tour with SZA, Omar Apollo is kicking off his LP2 era

Looking past the Gen-Z-ness of it all, it’s clear that Hobart, IN-born singer-songwriter Omar Apollo is not only influenced by neo-soul, but is able to execute a faithful mix of both the simplicity and complexity of the genre. Some of his material, such as “Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me At All)” and “Invincible” with Daniel Caeser, leans more toward the D’Angelo and Erykah Badu-led 90’s era of the genre, while other tracks, like “Hey Boy” with Kali Uchis, shifts to more of the modern-day approach in the vein of Steve Lacy.

Other names like The Internet and Tyler, The Creator come to mind as well when considering this blend of R&B, soul, hip-hop, and pop, but Apollo, even while feeding a modern audience both musically and as an influencer of sorts, is creating this kind of music without any extreme variation.

After fully breaking out with the 2022 record Ivory and scoring the sought-after opening act slot on SZA’s “SOS Tour,” Apollo is ready to begin the rollout for his new project, currently known as LP2. “Spite,” which he dubbed as “Track 2” on the project, is out now.

“Spite” leans more toward alternative and contemporary R&B with a stylistic nod to Khalid in terms of tonal phrasing, adlibs, etc. This is especially evident in verse two, in which Apollo laments to a partner, questioning why he’s being kept in the shadows: “Thirty days you been on vacation / By the end, I was losing patience / Why you going out your way to hide me every night that you spent beside me?” He adds an alteration of “Whoa, yeah,” in between the first section of lines, before adding a single tasteful layer of harmony just above the root note for lines in the second half. It is, in a way, textbook Khalid.

Later in the song, he changes his phrasing again… this time to an almost Lil Wayne-type pop flow, though less garbled. It’s casual, breezy, and while not as accusatory as he might want it to be, incredibly singable: “Why you gotta ruin every NIGHT!? / Fifty K, I’ll spend it out of SPITE! / Every time I see you in my phone / Hate that I still need you in my life.”

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Apollo confirms the attempt at hiding insecurity within the song, saying, “’Spite’ is a song about a long-distance relationship and wanting to show the other person that you’re okay without them even though you feel like you need them. It’s an angry song about not being able to have someone all to yourself.”

Light trop-house elements throughout the song accentuate the use of the Wayne-like flow, as it gives Apollo leverage to draw outside the lines on this occasion. While his catalog is far from drab, “Spite” joins “Talk” and the handful of other purely uptempo tunes in his catalog. There is a pop-the-collar energy to this that is, ultimately, an easy masking of true feelings while perpetuating this musical and sonic summer-leaning sound.

Stream “Spite”: