With a name that means king forever, it’s only fitting that Omarion’s most notorious tattoo is an O adorned with a crown, his symbol. And for his new album, Ollusion, the former B2K singer evokes the monarch of pop royalty: Michael Jackson. “He was my mentor,” says Omarion. “He changed the way you watch a music video—you were captivated by him. I’m trying to capture that.” And Omarion, 25, does exactly that with his first single, the dance-infused hip-hop track “I Get It In.” In the futuristic black-and-white video (hello, Michael and Janet’s “Scream”) Omarion even moonwalks across the screen, in case there was any denying he wants to be next in line for the King’s throne.
Omarion’s “go big or go home” approach transcends his music career. Even his three tattoos are “super huge,” he jokes. Yet “they are very well-thought-out. I always need to have a meaning behind them.”
And when it came time for his first—a scorpion on his back holding a crumbling world—the entertainer, then 18, went straight to the man who’s inked some of the biggest names in rap: Los Angeles tattoo and graffiti artist Mister Cartoon. “It represents being imperfect,” Omarion says of the fragmented globe. “It’s kind of spiritual even though I know, spiritually, I shouldn’t be inking up my body.” Still, a year later, he went back under the needle for the royal O, a real magnet with the ladies. “They love it,” laughs Omarion. “It kind of gives me a little edge.”
But it was his third—another reminder of his imperfections, a portrait of Omarion as a praying angel with handcuffs and the words “Have Faith in God’s Gift”—that left a lasting impression. “I’m telling you right now, the pain, oh my God,” recalls Omarion of the excruciating calf ink like it was yesterday (it was four years ago). “It’s my last. I know a lot of people who can sit there and get a whole back tattoo … not me, I’m done. On the contrary, I understand how tattoos are addictive. That’s the reason why I decided to stop, because I probably would have a whole bunch.”