Singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor Omarion, born Omari Ishmael Grandberry in Inglewood, California, fronted the young pop-R&B group B2K from 1999 through its 2004 split. With Omarion as their lead singer, the group scored five Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop hits, as well as one gold-selling album and one platinum-selling album. Omarion then became one of the more popular solo contemporary R&B artists of the late 2000s -- a Grammy-nominated singer who worked with top-level producers and songwriters such as Timbaland, the Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Tank. Although his popularity dipped during the early 2010s, his career was revitalized through an affiliation with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group.
After filming You Got Served, a movie in which Omarion starred, B2K split. The movie was released in January 2004. Near the end of the year, Omarion furthered his side career with a role in Fat Albert. He then embarked on a solo career with the Epic label. Debut solo album O, featuring production help from the Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins, and the Underdogs, was released in 2005. The slow jam title track, released as the lead single, helped send the album to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary R&B Album. Omarion's second album, 21, followed in late 2006 and also debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, highlighted by an excellent Timbaland production, the Top 20 single "Ice Box." The singer's next move was Face Off, an uneven full-length collaboration with Bow Wow released in December 2007. Promoted by a BET special titled The Road to Platinum, it went gold.
Following a split with Epic, Omarion was briefly connected to Young Money Entertainment but ultimately signed with EMI, where he released 2010's Ollusion. While it was easily his lowest-selling release to that point, it was among his best work. The Tank collaboration "I Get It In," featuring a guest verse from Gucci Mane, peaked at number 20 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. A handful of cuts reunited him with B2K's Marques Houston. His presence as a judge on the fifth season of America's Best Dance Crew had no apparent positive impact on the album's sales. The following year, he joined Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group and subsequently aligned with Jay-Z's Roc Nation management. After a series of mixtapes, EPs, and appearances on assorted MMG releases, Omarion released Sex Playlist in 2014. ~ Andy Kellman