Inside Omar Little’s iPod
September 7, 2012
When Michael K. Williams gets into a character he goes all in. Anyone who’s seen him as the notorious Omar Little in The Wire, the equally threatening Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire, or even in his small, comedic role on Community, will know that Williams doesn’t mess around.
Micahel K. Williams has a way of getting inside a character’s head and portraying them so effectively that fans often have a difficult time distinguishing between the reality of the man and the larger than life persona. In the latest issue of New York magazine, Williams sat down with writer Hua Hsu and explained his unique approach to getting inside a new identity saying, “Music for me is a portal, once I’ve gone to that dimension and I’m there, whatever got me there, I just loop those songs.” For each character Williams takes on, he crafts a unique playlist that transports him into a new state of mind, although he admits that, “there’s a 90 percent chance Nas will be on all my characters’ playlists.” Williams will listen to a character’s playlist right up until the moment the director yells, “Action!” and then puts his headphones back on as soon as the cameras cut. For what is arguably his most famous character, Omar Little, Williams compiled an hour-long playlist, mostly consisting of rap music from artists like Biggie, 2pac, and Lauren Hill, that to him “tell the story of Omar,” and put him in his acting zone.
Although he no longer listens to that playlist, saying, “I tend to stay away…I know where it’s gonna take me,” to any of those who are interested, or for whatever reason need to get inside the mind of Baltimore’s most feared drug dealer, Williams has kindly made the entire list available to listen to over on Spotify.