As the teenaged frontman for the R&B boy band B2K, Omarion lived every young singer’s dream of performing in front of screaming fans and lighting up the charts with hits like the frisky “Bump, Bump, Bump.” But for Omarion—who was born Omari Ishmael Grandberry in Inglewood, California, in 1984—that early success was just the beginning of a richer creative life. As he told Apple Music, he felt like he came into his own artistically when he was able to work with The Neptunes on his first solo album. “That was the moment I realized I’m here to make music,” he said. “I’m here to make you feel good.” And that’s just what he did with 2005’s O. The Grammy-nominated album established Omarion as an R&B powerhouse who was just as compelling on the lean and funky Neptunes-assisted “Touch” as he was on “I’m Tryna,” a slow jam that showed off his knack for being both salacious and sweet. A 2006 collaboration with Timbaland, “Ice Box” showed his increasing maturity as Omarion channeled his heartbreak over a relationship’s end into what became his biggest solo hit. After a stint on Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood, he returned to the charts with the slinky 2014 hit “Post To Be” and his fourth album Sex Playlist. Completing a circle, Omarion toured with a reformed B2K in 2019 before striking out on his own again on 2020’s The Kinection, a sinuous collection that sees him embrace trap and dancehall sounds while keeping up with guests like Busy Signal, T-Pain, and Wale.
BORNNovember 12, 1984