Throughout the last three years, Omar Apollo has captivated a loyal fanbase with his tender, increasingly confident voice, dreamy indie pop vibe and relatable upbringing. He gives off that “one of us, one of us” chant-prompting aura and owns his space in the experimental plane — never really appearing to want to be anything else. Apollo’s latest single, “Frío,” is the first piece in his discography that feels very unlike him sonically – and it’s not just because it’s his first rendezvous with Spanish.
The track starts off with what sounds like a muffled echo of the Stranger Things intro, before the beat drops and your ears do what would be equivalent to a squint in an attempt to decipher the voice reverberating off the base.
In his first single since the release of his EP Friends, the Mexican-American, Indiana native takes a dive into urbano with Floaties on. Though it can’t be equated to a risk, given the attention the genre has amassed, it is a safe, pleasant change of pace and rather unprecedented move for the 22-year-old (assuming your eyes aren’t fixed to Twitter year-round like some of us).
Though the nature of “Frío” can feel out of left field, this was always a part of the rising artist’s plan in one way or another – albeit a looming eventual to-do rather than pinned-in-calendar endeavor.
“My mom worked at a hair salon when I was really young and they would mostly reggaeton music while cutting hair,” Apollo tells Remezcla. “A lot of days I would just stay there with her all day, so I became really familiar with it at a young age and always wanted to make something like it at some point.”
It should be noted, though, that this isn’t a full-stop pivot. Apollo’s upcoming work (heads up to the die-hard purists out there) is a testament to that.
Kenny Beats, the producer who helped bring this to life, has previously worked with Rico Nasty, Vince Staples and Gucci Mane, just to name a few. As evidenced by his resume, English rap is more his expertise, but his talent really shines here with a laidback fuse of two distinct styles many likely didn’t expect to see coming together so seamlessly.
“¿Qué no ves que no somos iguales?” he sings on the frustrated, lovesick track.
The good news is Apollo has officially dipped his toe in español and made himself appealing to an entire new market. The perhaps even better news is there’s more experimenting to do.