The Radar: Luv The Way by Shak Omar
The weather may be a bit shit at the moment, but Shak Omar is brightening up our day with a dancehall-influenced summer jam.
Shak Omar is probably one of the most charismatic performers in Liverpool today, and a true believer in the power of British R&B.
He is also full of twists and turns. A rare talent, his ability to shift from spitting bars to a smooth, Marvin Gaye-type vocal is pretty astonishing. This means that every time you think you have him pegged, he’ll drop something out of the blue that adds to his ever-growing palette.
Luv the Way is such a song, and sees Shak transition into the summertime with a heavy dancehall influence. He maintains his R&B roots, but finds a way to incorporate the dancehall seamlessly, with his infectious personality front and centre.
There’s an almost pent up sexual energy in both his lyrics and his performance, and yet he manages to make it feel romantic rather than down ‘n’ dirty. This is to his credit, of course. The easy route is to use the sexual imagery raw – and even many big stars fall into this trap. There’s a million “grind on me” songs out there. Yet sexual imagery on its own isn’t necessarily sexy; DNCE’s Body Moves is so sterile. Bruno Mars’ Gorilla is really quite embarrassing.
Shak achieves what such stars don’t. There’s a sweetness to it, which feels sincere, and matches Shak’s own personality. By contrast to those mentioned above, this is inspired, confident and assured – and though he may not be there yet, reveals the ace up his sleeve should he continue in this direction.