In the final chapter of Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, Superman rests the fate of humanity and superheroes on the shoulders of Captain Marvel, who must choose between allowing the metahumans’ war to engulf the planet or allow a warhead to kill the dueling metahumans.
As Superman’s moral compass sends him off to destroy the bomb, Captain Marvel’s three shouts of “Shazaam!” prematurely set off the bomb, killing Marvel in the process. The sacrifice allowed for a strive for unity between the few surviving metahumans, shielded from the blast by Green Lantern’s force field, and the humans who delivered by payload to ensure their survival.
The apocalyptic conclusion of the story can be interpreted allegorically when describing Owel Five’s approach to rap music. He is Superman; travelling at the speed of light to avert the destruction of warring emcees whose ideological battle, some may say, threatens to destroy the world it shares with its co-inhabitants, the listeners. He is at the same time Captain Marvel; an old soul inhabited by the youthful exuberance for destroy and rebuild, each lyric ensuring the destruction of those thought of as heroes and ushering in an era of dialogue between the survivors and those whom it benefitted most, the listeners.
Lyrics dripping with pop culture references peppered in the structural complexities of each metaphor and punchline, Owel’s innovative and technical delivery is accompanied by a raw honesty true to the ancestral history of the emcee’s place in this world. A driving force behind the Kwiz Massturrz and their debut Talkies Ruined My Life In The Pictures, he seamlessly intertwines battle rap aesthetics and stylistic progression.
Owel has since left his birthplace of Ottawa for Toronto, where he and Corboe have been destroying crowds expectations of live hip hop and rebuilding them as they see fit. The duo has been preparing Dream Jefferson, an entity that blurs the lines between hip hop and electronic music, concurrently with Owel’s forthcoming Songs For Dames.
After hearing Owel Five make his presence known by a song, a verse, or simply one line, one can only echo the chants of Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place”: “It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?”