A rare breed

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Almost a decade ago, a group of lifelong friends from the East Side banded together in pursuit of a common goal: Making a name - then making a living - through hip-hop.

Omnibreed accomplished that first part long ago, having established their crew as one of the most respected names in local and regional rap. They continue to pursue the second part Friday with the release of the new mixtape Whut Radio Volume 2.

"The whole goal is to be self-sufficient within the music industry to where we can sell our own albums, we can book our own shows and have minimal involvement from outside companies," said rapper Spade Trump, one of a swarm of nine Omnibreed associates who filled a circular booth to talk about the group. "The way the music industry is structured nowadays, you got to go independent."

The group knows that to make a living outside the trappings of the music industry means they have to be businessmen as much as artists. With that in mind, each member of the entourage has a role, whether it's booking shows, posting fliers, soliciting radio support or whatever else it takes to elevate Omnibreed to the next level.

"It is fun because I'm doing it with friends and people I love, but first and foremost to me, this is a job. I take it that seriously," rapper C-10 said. "I'm so confident in our craft and our talent that I know it's going to take us to the next level, and the only way we won't get there is by holding ourselves back."

Omnibreed does not lack for vision. Since the beginning, when they were just a few buddies rapping into a four-track, they've tried to offer something for everyone under one banner - a "universal breed," they explained. Over the years they've expanded to include a broader palette of rappers and added dancers, fashion designers and in-house production team Put the Money in the Bag Productions to the mix.

"Now the people we bought beats from buy beats from us," C-10 said.

A mixtape is the perfect way to serve up a hip-hop variety platter, and Whut Radio Volume 2 comes through in that regard. The disc incorporates more than a dozen rappers, producers and singers and even delves into R&B - uncharted territory for Omnibreed.

As a musical document, the disc is a worthy introduction to the group. The first chance to pick it up, and the latest chance to witness Omnibreed in person, is this Friday's installment of their monthly Fresh Fridays concert series at High Five. And if you don't like what you get, the group offers a money-back guarantee, complete with a direct cell phone number.

"We've never received a call," C-10 said, "If anything, if we ever received a call, it's 'I need another one for my brother.'"